Voters in the Sioux Center Community School District are going to the polls today to vote on a $24.9-million dollar bond issue to build a new high school.

Sioux Center School Board President Tim Gesink says all district buildings are above capacity. “We’ve been growing in enrollment between 35 to 50 kids each year — pretty consistently the last four or five years — and we’re just out of space,” Gesink says. A consultant has been working with the district for many years and told the school leaders about eight years ago, Sioux Center should be thinking about a fourth campus.
Gesink says two years ago the consultant again said they needed to look at the four campus plan.

“He’s been pretty accurate from the number of kids that we’re going to grow. Especially I think eight or nine years ago he projected kind of here’s what your growth is going to look like, and he’s been pretty accurate,” according to Gesink. Gesink says the growth of Sioux Center probably isn’t going to change soon, and the school district needs to be prepared for the educational needs of a growing community.

Superintendent Gary McEldowny says they would have to go through a significant renovation to the current high school building to meet their needs and they determined there just isn’t enough space to add to the current building. McEldowney says a new high school is not a decision that comes easily
“That’s been a lot of preparation and research and time has gone into that and how to best use what we currently have and how to plan for the long-term future,” McEldowney says.

McEldowney believes the new high school is the best way to go. “I feel very confident that with support that we will be able to build a structure here in the community that will be long-lasting and have a tremendous amount of impact for decades to come,” McEldowney says.

Property owners within the Sioux Center School District expect a modest tax increase if the bond passes. Residential properties will see a 37-cent increase for each one-thousand dollars valuation while agricultural land owners can expect a 52 cent per acre assessment. The polls are open until eight o’clock tonight.

(By Mark Buss, KSOU, Sioux Center)