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Wendy Reuer, Published May 16 2013

School bond issue passes by 33 votes in Rothsay

ROTHSAY, Minn. – A $19.4 million school bond issue passed here Thursday night by 33 votes.

Superintendent Warren Schmidt said 348 residents, or 52 percent, voted in favor of the bond, while 315 residents, or 48 percent, voted against it in final but unofficial results.

Schmidt said a supermajority was not needed to pass the bond issue.

Voters defeated a $24 million plan in mid-December by just 12 votes. It was a plan that would have also paid for a community center and fire hall.

“I think the effort of the Yes Committee was instrumental in how this all came about; they did such a fantastic job,” Schmidt said. “They were not used last time.”

The $19.4 million bonding plan will pay for most of a $19.92 million 89,000-square-foot school to be built on 18.5 acres along Interstate 94 by the district’s football field.

The district needs classroom space for 350 students, two gymnasiums and rooms for special education, technology and other programs, with all of it meeting handicapped-accessibility requirements, he said.

About $430,000 for the school will come from district capital funds and another $93,000 from investment earnings, documents show.

Enrollment projections estimated the student population will grow 10 percent a year in Rothsay. About 45 percent of the current school is circa the 1940s or older.

Schmidt said Thursday night he has already called an architect to begin planning. He hopes bid letting could begin by this fall.

“I would like to see the school open in the fall of 2014 or by Christmas time. Now that is my wish; I’m sure the architect will have something to say about it,” he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530