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STC community members attend informational meeting on March 1 bond vote | News, Sports, Jobs - Tama-Toledo News Chronicle

STC community members attend informational meeting on March 1 bond vote | News, Sports, Jobs - Tama-Toledo News Chronicle

Concept rendering of the proposed exterior of the renovated Iowa Juvenile Home that would become the new location for the South Tama County Middle School. The entryway pictured is of the new addition that would be constructed to the north of the existing buildings in the IJH campus. -- Image courtesy of INVISION

The South Tama County Community School District held an informational meeting on January 27 to discuss the upcoming bond issue vote and the plan to renovate the Iowa Juvenile Home property to meet the district’s middle school space and facility needs.

Community members asked a variety of thoughtful questions about the proposed solution that will appear on the ballot Tuesday, March 1.

“On behalf of the board, I would like to thank everyone who came out to our informational meeting and asked great questions about the plan to address our needs at STC Middle School,” said Mandy Lekin, Board President. “The community has spoken, and the proposed solution to renovate the Iowa Juvenile Home serves as a good compromise to meet the needs of our students.”

One of the questions raised was whether it would make sense to simply renovate the current middle school building rather than move forward with the IJH plan.

While the district could proceed with that option, the current 106-year-old building structure is primarily composed of load-bearing walls. This makes it a solid building, but also inflexible and not easy to adapt. The existing classroom sizes are too small, and the overall building needs to grow by about 50 percent to meet modern guidelines for the amount of space per student.

A concept rendering of a cooridor space within one of the three learning areas positioned on the three floors of the existing Iowa Juvenile Home school building that would be renovated if the March 1 bond referendum is passed. -- Image courtesy of INVISION

STC community members attend informational meeting on March 1 bond vote | News, Sports, Jobs - Tama-Toledo News Chronicle

Additionally, the district recognizes that modern learning environments are more transparent, with the ability of staff to supervise multiple areas at once. The load-bearing walls inhibit the district’s ability to significantly adapt the building in a cost-effective way. It’s also worth noting that the existing site is approximately 10 percent of the site area recommended for a middle school, which leads to significant congestion and safety issues. There’s also little room for building expansion, parking and recreational fields.

The board’s decision to place the bond question on the ballot for March 1 follows the recommendation of the community-led Facility Task Force, which examined the middle school’s facility needs and explored potential solutions. The task force reviewed several options and recommended the renovation of the IJH after an evaluation of numerous factors, including cost, logistics, space and community feedback.

“The bond question that will appear on the ballot March 1 represents a truly community-driven solution to our middle school needs,” said Lekin. “This proposal to renovate the IJH property has received broad support, as it provides value and 21st century learning opportunities to our students while maintaining our presence in Toledo. These have been identified as key priorities by our community.”

The board has set a project budget of $26.8 million, including $15 million from General Obligation bonds, $9.8 million from sales tax bonds and $2 million from sales tax cash. Forty-four percent of the total project budget is scheduled from sales tax (not from property taxes).

If the bond is approved, the tax rate levy would drop from $2.70 to $2.06 per $1,000 of taxable valuation. For the owner of a home assessed at $100,000, this presents an annual reduction of $31.54 ($2.63 per month). Taxes would decline $339.41 annually ($28.28 per month) on the average value of 400 acres of agricultural land. These decreases are possible even with an approved bond vote, as the district will have paid off the debt associated with the elementary school.

The next informational meeting will be held virtually on Thursday, February 10 at 7 p.m.

To learn more about the needs at STC Middle School and the March 1 bond question, as well as to view answers to frequently asked questions, please visit www.southtamabond.org.

South Tama Middle School Exterior Rendering (2)
Concept rendering of the proposed exterior of the renovated Iowa Juvenile Home that would become the new location for the South Tama County Middle School. The entryway pictured is of the new addition that would be constructed to the north of the existing buildings in the IJH campus. — Image courtesy of INVISION
South Tama_CorridorView_1-26-2022_Final_Logo (2)
South Tama_CorridorView_1-26-2022_Final_Logo (2)
A concept rendering of a cooridor space within one of the three learning areas positioned on the three floors of the existing Iowa Juvenile Home school building that would be renovated if the March 1 bond referendum is passed. — Image courtesy of INVISION