Marion voters to be asked to OK school project expansion

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Marion voters are being asked this month to approve a $500,000 bond issue to expand Marion School.

Ballots will be mailed out Nov. 10 and are due back Dec. 1.

School-district residents can register to vote starting today.

The $500,000 would provide the school with much-needed space by adding four rooms and two bathrooms, Principal Justin Barnes said. The bathrooms would be compliant with the American Disabilities Act. The school currently does not have disability-compliant facilities.

If voters approved the 20-year bond request, annual property taxes on a home with an assessed value of $100,000 would increase by $10.02. Annual taxes would increase by $15.04 for a home with an assessed value of $150,000. 

Two of the rooms would be used to house fourth and fifth grades. Fourth- and fifth-graders currently are in a modular building adjacent to the gym.

“Our goal is to have one building. Primary grades K through five on one side of the building and six through eight on the other side,” Barnes said.

Barnes said music classes likely would be moved from the gym to the modular building. Between music, lunch, P.E. and assemblies, this move would help ease scheduling conflicts for gym use.

Part of the third room would be sectioned off into a counselor’s office, classroom space and rooms for special education, speech and Title I classes. These services currently are offered in the basement of the original part of the school building that is more than 100 years old.

“These buildings were built at a time where there were different needs,” Barnes said.

The fourth room will be sectioned offices for the clerk and principal and contain the handicap-accessible bathrooms.

The district has made efforts to utilize every available space, including turning a janitor’s closet into the principal’s office and a utility room into the business clerk’s office.

Last year, Marion voters defeated a $2.2 million bond request.

“We scaled it down big time,” Barnes said. “The $2.2 million bond would have taken care of all of our needs. With $500,000 we’ll at least move forward with moving all the primary students into one building.” 

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