Independence Schools ready to build now that bond has passed - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Independence Schools ready to build now that bond has passed


The community of Independence is giving the green light to a brand new junior-senior high school building. 69 percent of voters in the Independence Community School District have approved a $12.48 million bond referendum to construct the school. It's a big win for the district, which has seen five previous bond issues fail since 2003.

There's a lot of planning that is already getting underway in Independence so that construction on the new school can begin next year. Since the current junior-senior high is more than 50 years old, ongoing maintenance is becoming costly. So the district is very excited to finally move forward with a new school.

Students at Independence Junior-Senior High School are used to cramped instructional quarters, a jam-packed cafeteria, and a stairwell landing for a classroom. But all that's about to change now that Independence School patrons have approved a bond measure to construct a brand new school.

"Those times are over, you know, that we have to worry about those things. Technology going down--won't happen anymore. Everything will be perfect when we walk in the door," said Jennifer Sornson, Independence Junior-Senior High principal.

Students helped create a mock-up of what the new school will look like. It's set to be built near the current elementary schools and will include features designed for educating students well into the future.

"We will be able to provide well-rounded academic programs. We'll have state-of-the-art programs. But we'll also have a gym and an auditorium that can showcase our extra curricular," said Jean Peterson, Independence superintendent.

Students can hardly wait for the new school to be finished.

"I''m mostly looking forward to the brand new gym and auditorium and all of our new school classrooms. It's going to be exciting to host district events and see the support our community has for us," said student Stephanie McMillan.

Students and staff will even have a say in the design process to make sure the new school will meet their needs.

"What the classrooms will look like, what the commons are, the gym and auditorium, and get lots of feedback on what those look like from those that will be living it on a daily basis," Peterson said.

And now that the bond's finally been approved, patrons of the district can look forward to seeing a new school take shape this spring, with classes getting underway at the new building in fall 2013.

The community really does seem to be behind this particular bond issue. We're told there was record voter turn out for a school election Tuesday. Even several current Independence students went to the polls to get the measure passed.

The district is hoping to incorporate several green features in the new $28 million building. Only about half of the construction cost will be bonded through a property tax increase. The rest will come from other funding sources, including an existing one-cent school infrastructure sales tax.




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