Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
More than 1,000 voters turned out for Washington’s middle school bond election Tuesday, casting their votes to decide the district’s future middle school plans.
With a final tally of 788-255, the bond issue exceeded the 60% approval threshold and passed, authorizing the district to maintain its $2.70 tax rate and undergo a $25 million renovation and addition to its high school, where the district hopes to relocate its middle school students to the added space by 2025.
Superintendent Willie Stone said he was beyond excited.
“It just feels great,” Stone said after the results were announced. “It’s an exciting thing to know that we’re doing what our community wants for our kids and making sure that we’re moving our district forward. I don’t know if I have the words to describe how I’m feeling.”
With the election resolved, Stone said the district had time to plan its next steps.
“We’ll start really diving into the schematics of what we’re doing making sure we have everything we need,” he said. “The nice thing is, we passed it early enough that we’ve got time really built in to do a deep dive to make sure when it comes around, we’ve got everything the way we want it.”
The election results put to rest a discussion that started in May about how to replace the aging middle school building.
The results confirm findings from a poll the district ran in June. While just under 56% of the poll’s respondents said they preferred the high school addition to a more expensive new building, less than the 60% required to pass, over 80% of respondents said they’d vote yes on a bond issue even if their preferred option was not selected.
The now-approved project includes plans to build a 19,000-square-foot extension of the building’s east wing, with classrooms to host grades six through eight. It also will build a 21,000-square-foot, two-story addition to the high school, extend 9,550 square feet of gymnasium space, and renovate another 52,500 square feet of the current high school.
Stone expressed his gratitude to the community.
“Thank you to our community for getting out and voting,” he said. “We had a lot of people out doing a lot of work, and we’re really grateful for that.”