The Ames Community School District vote on the $110 million high school bond referendum will be taking place Tuesday, April 3 and the vote will require 60 percent of approval by voters in order to pass.
Here’s what you need to know:
Eight voting centers will be available for any registered voter in the Ames Community School District of the age 18 or older can vote at their choice of the following locations. All polling centers will be available from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
Ames Public Library Auditorium, 515 Douglas Ave.
Grand Avenue Baptist Church, 612 24th St.
Bethesda Lutheran Church, 1517 Northwestern Ave.
Ascension Lutheran Church, 2400 Bloomington Road
Green Hills Retirement Community, 2205 Green Hills Dr.
Ames Middle School, Room B111A, 3915 Mortensen Rd.
Collegiate United Methodist Church, 2622 Lincoln Way
Trinity Christian Reformed Church, 3626 Ontario Street
Haila Architecture performed a study on the high school and listed the circulation of students, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility and a lack of security facilities as important concerns. The current high school has been functioning since 1960, making it the longest standing high school in Ames history at 57 years.
The optimistic estimate of the Ames School District is for site work to begin in the fall of 2018, making it possible to start construction on the pool and the new high school building in the spring of 2019.
However, his timeline relies heavily on the efficiency of the planning process for the new high school. The latest the new high school is set to be open to students is in the fall of the 2022 — 2023 school year.
The current location plan for the new high school is along Ridgewood Avenue by the practice fields. As a result of the 1 percent sales tax, the softball field has already been moved to the athletic complex on 24th Street, and the tennis courts will be moved there this year using Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) funds, opening up the space for construction.
The Ames School District promises that the referendum will not raise the tax rate, just like the geo-bonds for the elementary building. The promise was made that the tax rate would not exceed $14.65, and actually ended up dropping to $14.34 and has stayed at this rate since 2014.
These bonds are set to be callable in 2019 to 2021, however by calling the bonds early, taxpayers will save upwards of $6 million in interest according to Ames Community School District Chief Financial Officer Chris Stensland in a video posted to Facebook. This means new geo-bonds can be issued for a new high school, and the tax rate will not increase.
More information on the bond referendum can be found here.