LANGFORD, S.D. Langford Area voters decided Tuesday to increase taxes to support a school improvement plan. It's a $3.2 million project that hopes to start up next spring.
The Langford Area School is home to students from four different communities and school officials hope their big plans will make things a little more roomy for those attending now and in the future.
New construction includes moving the band and choir room from the second story above the gym onto the ground floor, a new weight room/wellness center for students and community members to use and a multipurpose gym area. The building itself will also get some much needed TLC.
"A new roof on the elementary building, replace the fire alarm system in the 1960 building, [and] resurface the parking lots, we have a drainage problem," Langford Area School Superintendent Monte Nipp said.
Providing a flexible learning environment for special education students has been difficult inside the school. Special Education Teacher Basil Knebel said he's had to use different closets and rooms to help provide the type of space his students need.
"If we could have it in a space that's more central, more inviting and more workable I would say that is worth it," Knebel said.
Knebel can't wait for the space improvement to happen. The wall on one side of his classroom will be knocked down and extended into a hallway that's no longer in use.
"To have a larger room to do more flexible seating with, especially with students with sensory, it'll be calmer for them, more productive and I think in the end everybody will succeed," Knebel said.
The new project is a statement that says the Langford Area School is here to stay. While many smaller schools around the area have looked at consolidating or closing their doors completely, Langford is making a decision to look towards the future.
School officials have seen a huge backing from community residents to increase their taxes to support the project.
"You need to keep your facilities up to date. You need to have a good learning environment for your students and that's just been supported," Nipp said. "We've heard that throughout from our community, so it's really exciting and encouraging to get the support from the community."
The bond election for the tax increase passed with a 68% of the vote. School leaders hope to have all of the improvements and construction finished within a year.