MAYNARD, Iowa - A school district in Fayette County is looking to improve its facilities, but it will come at a cost.
The West Central Community School District in Maynard has plans to build a nearly $9.1 million junior and senior high school.
The plans include new classrooms, a new gym and a new entry way with secured doors.
Most of the project would be funded by a local bond issue, while state sales tax would pick up the rest of the bill. If the issue is passed, the district said it would be a property tax bump of $3.79 per $1,000 of assessed property value.
The entire school district is pretty much in one big building. This plan includes tearing down the old 1920s junior-senior high school portion and building a new one on the other side of what's currently the elementary portion of the school.
"This is a 1940s locomotive engine, it actually came out of a train," said Superintendent Stuart Fuhs as he pointed to the boiler in the junior-senior high school.
The aging boiler system is just one thing the West Central School District said it needs to get rid of. If you add on a slew of technological wires, a lack of learning space and fire code violations, the district said the whole junior-senior high school building needs to go.
"It's a safety issue, it's an educational issue for the students and it's just the right time to get it done. The building has served its purpose," Superintendent Fuhs said.
School leaders held a meeting and tour on Sunday to inform voters about the plan, including the tax increase.
"It's certainly not my favorite choice, but I'm willing to look at the plans to see if it's something we're willing to go with," said David Hanson.
Hanson has two sons who go to school in the Junior-Senior High School building. He understands the problems but also sees a potential for fixing up the old building.
"I have mixed feelings; I could see it either way. I honestly don't know what direction I'm going yet," Hanson said.
The district said it needs to keep students enrolled at West Central. This project could be the key to showing people the district is expanding and looking forward.
"We need a certain amount of students here to be viable, and I think we're still at that level and if we can grow some in the future, we'll be here for a long time," said West Central School Board President Chad Ingels.
The bond vote is April second. If approved, construction would start this fall and the new building would open in the fall of 2015. If it doesn't pass, project leaders say they'd wait another year to get it on the ballot again.
In the end, it's all up to the voters within the West Central School District.