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Lafayette School District Hopes to Have Community’s Support for New School

Rendering of the proposed Lafayette Lower Elementary School.
Graphic provided by Innovative Construction Management

By Alyssa Schnugg
Staff writer
alyssa.schnugg@hottytoddy.com

With a growing number of children in Lafayette County and an aging lower elementary, the Lafayette County School District is counting on the community’s support to help build a new school by voting “Yes” on Sept. 11.

The final public meeting on the Lafayette County School District’s proposal for a $23 million bond referendum for a new elementary school for pre-K through second-grade students was held Tuesday in the Middle School auditorium.

Representatives from the school district, architects, and Innovative Construction Management were on hand Tuesday to discuss reasons of why the bond is needed and how the bond funds will be utilized.
Those attending the meeting also caught a glimpse of the layout and design for the new proposed school that will be located just off the current LCSD campus off County Road 406.

Site layout of the proposed elementary school.

The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors saved the district millions of dollars by offering to lease the county-owned land to the district at a low cost.

By law, the school district can only borrow 15 percent of the county’s assessed value, which is currently $155 million. That allows the county to borrow up to $23 million.

Superintendent Adam Pugh said if the referendum passes on Sept. 11, taxpayers of Lafayette County could see up to a 1 mill increase on property and car tags.

However, on Tuesday, Pugh said it’s also likely that due to the county paying off some debt, there may not be a need for the 1-mill increase at all.

“It’s looking like there won’t be an increase,” he said. “However, if there is, 1 mill on a $100,000 home is about $10 a year. But again, we might not need the increase.”

In the 2011-2012 school year, the district had about 2,500 students. Enrollment for this school year shows there are currently just under 3,000 students.

“We are at capacity,” Pugh said. “But our greatest needs is the lower elementary and middle school.”

Part of the project will include renovating part of the current lower elementary school to add an additional wing to create seven new middle school classes. The other half of the school will be renovated and used by third-grade students.

The school district has put in five trailers for classrooms to accommodate the growth.

The current lower elementary school houses about 665 students. The new school will be built to handle 880 students with room to add an additional two wings in the future when needed.

“We’re growing,” Pugh said. “This is something we’ve been talking about for years and this what we need to do to accommodate our growth and meet our needs the best we can.”

The district needs 60 percent of the votes to be in favor of the referendum for it to pass.

Only Lafayette County residents living in the county school district can vote. All precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sept. 11.

Absentee voting is allowed and can be done at the Lafayette County Circuit Clerk’s Office.

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