Supporters of a school bond, including School Superintendent Mark Wenzel, are overjoyed moments after Wenzel told the crowd gathered at Gere-a-Deli Tuesday night that voters had approved a school bond to reconstruct much of the high school.
The first round of ballots counted in the special election showed about 63 percent of voters saying ‘yes’ to the nearly $87 million dollar bond which will allow new classrooms as well as other improvements. Total project cost is just shy of $90 million.
The first vote count, released Tuesday night, had 4,544 yes votes and 2,697 no votes for a total of 7,421 ballots counted. More than 1,000 ballots are yet to be counted.
In addressing the supporters, Wenzel said, “This is an amazing opportunity for our kids.” He thanked the school board for not letting go of its vision of several years ago when bond votes failed.
For a bond to pass, a 60 percent vote is needed. Two earlier votes failed to win the required 60-percent approval vote. One in 2007 was for $60-million, with $51-million earmarked for the high school. Another bond request in 2008 for an even higher amount, $63-million, also failed.
The project will allow the school district to make these improvements, according to the official bond request:
- Acquire, construct and equip an addition to Anacortes High School to replace approximately 60% of the existing High School;
- Renovate the remaining portion of Anacortes High School, including Brodniak Hall, music rooms and the existing gymnasium;
- Upgrades to Rice Field, including turf, bleachers, lights, practice fields, concession areas and restrooms;
- Replace roofs at Fidalgo and Mount Erie Elementary Schools; and
- Undertake safety improvements at District schools, including modifications to elementary school entryways.