Voters in the Miami School District overwhelmingly approved a $4.19 million bond issue to construct a multi-purpose building on the high school campus.
The proposal received a 74.24-percent approval rating as 1,340 ballots were cast in favor of the proposed school bond and 465 were opposed, according to unofficial results announced by the Ottawa County Election Board.
School bond elections, by state statute, require the support of a super majority - 60 percent - of voters in order to pass.
“That was a wonderful response,” Miami school superintendent Bill Stephens said. “Three-to-one - you can't ask for anything better than that. It's a great victory for the kids of the community.”
Tentative plans include a 1,800-seat gymnasium, two practice courts, a band room, a choral room, an art room, a lecture hall and two conference rooms.
The facility will include 400 seat-back chairs, concession stand as well as two main and two auxiliary locker rooms and trainer and video rooms.
“One keys to being successful is that we had support of just about everybody -the fine arts community and the athletic community, plus I had a lot of people who you would put in the ‘senior' category the last couple of weeks who have been wonderfully supportive (of the proposal) … “I am just proud to have been a part of it.”
The bond will be paid off over nine years.
The impact will be an average of $3 per month additional to county property taxes.
“The numbers we looked at in our committee meetings have been nowhere near the 74 percent (the vote received),” said MHS girls' basketball coach JohnCarl Morgan, who was part of a 27-member panel that worked at getting the word out about the proposal. “We really got out the ‘yes' vote. We had a lot of people getting out and working hard on this, our teachers, our administration, businesses, the community groups - everybody has been working really, really hard on this.”
“Now, the kids have something to look forward to and to really have some pride in,” Miami boys' basketball coach Rusty Mercer said. “We're headed in the right direction. This will be a huge self-esteem boost.”
This will be just the third home for the MHS basketball teams. Prior to moving into the civic center when it was opened in the late 1950s, games were played at the old Miami High School which was located on the site of the current Nine Tribes Towers.
“We're really pleased to see the community has stepped up to the plate and is willing to provide for the kids the same opportunities that every other kid in other school district across the state and across the country has,” said MHS chorus teacher Ron Stowell. “This is my 29th year in ‘the hole' (the band and chorus rooms, located in the basement) and it's the same way with the band. We have actually lost students who have come in, looked at our facility and have gone elsewhere.”
Stephens said tentative plans are to get things rolling with bids and a contractor shortly after the first of the year.
“The weather is such a factor, but I do feel like the latter part of next year, we might be in there,” he said.