Unofficial results are in. Hoisington USD 431 will be building a new elementary school to replace its oldest structure, Lincoln Elementary School.
Registered voters in the district received mail in ballots the last week of May, to be returned no later than noon on Tuesday, June 16 to the Barton County Court House. Of the 2,257 ballots that were mailed out, 224 were returned undeliverable, mostly due to voters who had moved and not reregistered.
Just over half the ballots were returned, with 874 voting in favor of the $11.5 million general obligation bond issue, and 278 opposed. The final canvas will be conducted by the Barton County Commissioners on Monday, June 21 at 8:30 a.m. At that point, the results will be official, and the next phase of the project can proceed.
The bond will pay to construct, furnish and equip a new Lincoln Elementary School where the playground and field of the existing structure is located now. After completion, the older structure built in 1926, will be demolished.
The bond will also afford renovations at other district properties, including parking and security improvements, and interest on the bond during construction.
Cardinal Legacy bond committee spokesperson Julia Debes was pleased to learn the measure passed.
“I’m excited for the future and present students of Lincoln School, the hardworking members of the Cardinal Legacy committee, and the whole for community,” she said. “I’m especially excited for my daughter, who when all the construction is complete will be attending a brand new school.”
In April, the committee and students in Mrs. Hanzlick’s fourth grade class at Lincoln hosted a media day, providing tours of the school which over the years has become obsolete in light of advances in technology that are commonplace in education today. They also held an open house for the community days later, which was well attended.
USD 425 Superintendent Bill Lowry anticipates the new school could be ready for students as early as August of 2017.
“This is great for the kids and the community, and will be a great asset to our education facilities,” he said. Preliminary work will begin later this year, but he doesn’t expect it to be fast and furious until school is out in 2016. From that point on, students at Lincoln will be able to note daily progress on their new school.
The new building will be large enough to accommodate fifth graders who now attend Hoisington Middle School, and give sixth, seventh and eighth grade students more breathing room.
The USD 431 Board of Education decided the proposed build was the best option in January after looking at four possible solutions to problems concerning age, use and securability of the district schools. At $11.5 million, it essentially allows for a no-mill levy increase bond. In addition, the district will receive entryway remodeling at three facilities which will require visitors to pass through the office, improving security. The new Lincoln will also feature a new cafeteria, a half-court basketball court with bleachers, and a storm shelter, sidewalks and parking, asbestos abatement and demolition of the existing Lincoln school, as well as improvements to the school’s sewer line.”