WESSINGTON SPRINGS, S.D. Voters in the Wessington Springs school district have approved a $3.5 million bond issue for building upgrades. This comes just two months after defeating a more expensive measure.
The Wessington Springs Middle and High School building was built in 1914.
"It’s quite old. I can’t say when the last time a full renovation was. so it’s been quite some time," Wessington Springs School Board President Todd Grohs said.
After voters turned down a $4.5 million bond in November, the school board changed their offer.
"We’ve taken the gym off of it and moved this to a $3.5 million bond and we’re going to spend approximately $1 million out of capital outlay here for this," Grohs said.
Wessington Springs students made sure to get involved by attending public meetings.
"They’ve had some input and I’ve heard them talking about it. They even drafted some information to give out to people, so they are very well aware of what’s going on," Wessington Springs Middle/High School Principal Jason Kolousek said.
Some community members joined in as well knowing how important these renovations are.
"We kind of developed a PAC committee. Basically, volunteers that wanted to come in and do whatever needed to be done, whether it was making phone calls or stamping envelopes and sending out letters," Wessington Springs School Board Vice Chair Amber Kolousek said.
Sixty-two percent of voters approved the big upgrades, which needed 60% to pass.
"Pretty much touch all parts of the school," Grohs said. "It’ll be plumbing, heating, cooling, fire suppression, fire alarms. There will be an elevator installed for handicap accessibility, new cameras, new security system, new ceiling. It’s a lot of stuff. It’s a full renovation."
"We’re very excited about it. I think it’s going to allow some space for our students and our classes," Jason Kolousek said. He also said that there have been increasing class sizes over the past few years, so adding more space is needed.
With such a close call in the vote, Grohs said he saw equal sides of support and concern from the community. While it was hard to pinpoint the major concerns, there are hopes that the upgrades will make everyone feel a little better once they're done.
Construction plans on starting on the last day of school with about 90% of it complete by the fall.