School bond vote passes easilyEighty-five percent of votes cast in favor of remodeling Fairfield High School.
Fairfield High School will be in for renovations and an addition with an unofficial ballot tally of 84.7 percent of voters Tuesday approving the school district’s borrowing $10 million for the project.
“We’re as happy as a lark,” said Ralph Messerli, one of the community members, along with his wife, Linda, helping organize a yes vote.
“A lot of people contributed to working for this bond issue,” he said. “And the people who voted yes, looked long-range to benefit teachers and students in years to come. And it will benefit the community for years to come.
“We are just really happy,” he said again.
Voting at the Jefferson County Courthouse for Fairfield residents was a steady stream of people throughout the day, with a total of 855 people casting ballots there Tuesday.
Fairfield voters cast 751 yes votes and 104 no votes for the bond referendum.
Seventy-two voters went to the polls in Libertyville, approving the referendum by 83.3 percent with 60 yes and 12 no votes.
At the Lockridge polling site, 81 people voted yes and 31 voted no, for a total of 112 votes, a 72.3 percent approval.
Voters at the Pleasant Plain polling site had the lowest approval rating at 60 percent approval with 30 yes votes to 20 no votes.
The highest approval rating, 85.1 percent, was among the 101 absentee ballots with 86 yes and 15 no votes.
But it is the overall total votes that matter, which is 1,008 yes and 182 no votes. A total of 1,190 votes were counted.
According to the Jefferson County Auditor’s Office, the Fairfield Community School District has 10,975 eligible voters, including active and inactive voters.
“The positive results are a recognition of all of the hard work the board did in prioritizing and planning and the efforts of the citizens’ committee, led by the Messerlis and Lowenbergs, to get the word out,” said Fairfield schools’ superintendent Art Sathoff. “I really appreciate the community’s recognition that there are serious learning needs to address at the high school facility and that the time is right to address them.”
According to the school district’s website www.fairfieldsfuture.org the final design by StruXture Architects in conjunction with Carl A. Nelson & Co., construction manager, is anticipated to be completed in December. The plan is for bids to be let in January and construction would begin in spring/summer 2014 and be completed by fall 2015.
Classes will continue at the high school through construction and renovations, but as much work as possible would be done during the two summers. Administration is planning to minimize disruptions as much as possible.
Priorities identified by the school board with student and staff input are:
• HVAC — heating, ventilation and air conditioning — and air quality and electrical infrastructure improvements.
• Accessibility — adding an elevator, eliminating some levels, making all common areas Americans with Disabilities Act accessible.
• Updated classroom space — create larger science labs, address smaller classrooms and areas without natural light.
• Building security and traffic flow — create a new, secure central entrance and centralized student services.
• Enlarging practice area for band and chorus; improving instrument storage and stage access.
• New locker rooms and wrestling area on main floor and using space adjacent to gymnasium.
• Storage — lower-level former locker room areas can be utilized.
The high school’s unique characteristics, such as Trojan Stadium and its tunnel entrance, as well as the art deco façade on the south face, will remain as they are.