Williamsburg voters turn down gym bond again

Measure needed 60-percent supermajority to pass, fell with 56 percent

Published: February 4 2014 | 8:40 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:11 am in

Almost one year to the day after an initial proposal failed, voters in the Williamsburg Community School District rejected a $6.7 million bond referendum for a new gymnasium at the district's combined junior-senior high school, located at 810 W. Walnut St., Williamsburg.

The measure, which needed a 60-percent supermajority to pass, fell with 56 percent of voters supporting the measure and 44 percent opposing it. Vote totals are not official until the Iowa County Auditor's canvass, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, but preliminary results show that 1,259 ballots were cast in the election.

Had voters approved the bond issue, the dollars would have gone to fund a new, two-level, in-ground gymnasium. Superintendent Carol Montz raised concerns about the safety of the bleachers and said the current gym is not in compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards and is too small to accommodate special events and the almost 600 students in grades seven through 12 who attend the junior-senior high school.

The $6.7 million proposal for construction of a 30,200 sq. ft. facility was reduction from the $7.9 million bond referendum to finance a new 31,550 sq. ft. gym, which voters rejected on Feb. 5, 2013. Administrators scaled back the size of the project, in response to community feedback, by reducing locker and storage space on the first floor and having a smaller walkway on the second level.

The school district's current overall tax rate is $14.12 per $1,000 of taxable valuation. That number would have increased by $1.30 per $1,000, to a rate of $15.42 per $1,000, if the measure had succeeded.

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