IDA GROVE, Iowa -- Driving through the OABCIG Community School District one sees little physical evidence there's a $15.9 million bond issue vote on Tuesday.
Oh, the new marquee on the historic King Theatre in Ida Grove shows there is a vote. And, there are fliers on counters at a number of business sites.
Public forums held in each community this week were lightly attended. Superintendent Matt Alexander isn't sure what to think of the relative quiet surrounding this vote, a measure that's already had 50 or so ballots filled out in a satellite voting effort completed during a Falcons basketball double-header on Nov. 30.
Voters defeated a $16-million measure in September 2017, a vote that came just three months after patrons in the Odebolt-Arthur and Battle Creek-Ida Grove districts voted to consolidate.
"We got 47 percent of the vote then," Alexander said. "There was some thinking that maybe that vote came too soon after the vote to consolidate."
District leaders and interested residents, teachers and staff members went back to the drawing board after the 2017 defeat and came up with a fresh set of physical components to be addressed in Tuesday's measure. In addition to the remodeling and updating of 17 classroom spaces (11 in the Odebolt school, six at the high school in Ida Grove), this plan will realize the construction of a 585-seat performing arts auditorium, a new band and choir room adjacent to the auditorium, a new wrestling room, new locker-rooms, a centralized district and high school office and more.
"This is the best time to bring this up," Alexander said of the 20-year bond measure. "First, it's never going to be cheaper as construction costs have risen 10 percent in 2018 alone. Second, with windmill properties in our district that will double in the next five years, those properties add taxable valuation to our district. Over time, as taxable valuation is added to the district tax rolls, the district could buy down the debt."
If the issue is passed on Tuesday, the annual tax increase for a home valued at $100,000 is $37.57, according to the district. The annual tax impact on an average acre of land is 96 cents in Ida County and 84 cents in Sac County.
"Even when we pass the bond issue with the additional tax levy, our overall levy rate will be in the lowest 30 percent of tax rates in the state," said Alexander.
OABCIG High School presented "Music Man" this fall at the high school in Ida Grove. As they've done for several years, actors and musicians presented the program on the stage that lines one end of the commons area. In years past, productions such as this were staged at the old high school site closer to downtown in Ida Grove, a structure that has since been sold and razed.
"The old auditorium in the old school was the only one in the district since 1971," said Alexander, a 1991 graduate of Ida Grove High School. "There were renovations done to it years ago, including really nice seats, but there was no storage backstage. It was still limited."
A new auditorium would have storage for costumes, dressing rooms and additional storage areas.
Currently, the high school site has a smaller wrestling practice room and weight-room facility contained in a detached, freestanding building. Members of the OABCIG Facilities Committee envision replacing those areas with a larger structure attached to the high school, adjacent to the gymnasium. Doing so would provide more space for those programs while increasing security measures on campus.
Lockers serving the Falcons programs -- and those of visiting teams -- are located on a lower level next to the gym. "Throughout time we've had constant water issues with those locker-rooms and it's tough to keep them from becoming moldy," Alexander said. "They're also not ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) compliant. We want to add ground-level locker-rooms for compliance. The new addition would go around the north and east side of the gym and, hopefully, that would take care of the water problems."
Additionally, the bond issue would allow for an expansion and relocation of woods, metals, industrial tech and FFA programs. Students in woods classes, for example, are now bused from the high school down the hill to a free-standing building at the foot of the hill leading to the high school.
Four classrooms are set to be modernized in the district this summer, as well as a window-replacement effort at the Odebolt school, part of a $650,000 capital-improvement plan slated for 2019, a plan that will proceed with or without passage of the bond issue. Should the bond pass on Tuesday, even more work will continue as the district seeks to improve sites in Odebolt and Ida Grove.
"We're putting millions of dollars into our buildings," Alexander concluded. "We need them all. We have no plans to build new ones. We want to improve what we have and make them all high quality."
Voting takes place from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Ida Grove Rec Center, the Battle Creek Community Center and the Odebolt Fire Station.