A new $9.8 million performing arts center gained approval in a close vote Tuesday in the Galesville-Ettrick-Trempealeau school district. The referendum received 1,319 votes (52 percent), while 1,207 people (48 percent) voted against it.
“It was a close vote, but we’re very excited our community came out and supported this performing arts center,” said G-E-T superintendent Aaron Engel. “I’m super-thrilled for our kids, and the opportunities they’ll have.”
Seating capacity will be about 700, Engel said. There is still some planning work to be done, but Engel is hopeful construction will begin next spring. It is an estimated 12-month construction project, so it should be finished in spring 2021, he said.
The high school’s current gym was constructed in 1953, and it hosts more than 350 plays, concerts, presentations and practices annually, along with more than 200 athletic and sports events, the district’s website states. The new performing arts center will open up the gym space for other groups and eliminate time conflicts. Engel said the money in the referendum is entirely earmarked for the performing arts center, but they are planning some renovations to make the gym better suited for athletic events.
The tax impact on a home valued at $150,000 will be $10.50 a year for 20 years.
Spring Valley getting new elementary
The Spring Valley School District also got good news from voters, who approved a $22.8 million referendum to construct a new elementary school, with it moving onto the middle school/high school campus. The measure received 723 votes (58 percent) in favor, while 528 people (42 percent) voted against it.
“We’re very pleased,” said Spring Valley superintendent Donald Haack. “We’re pretty excited for the community. But they’ve placed a lot of trust in us, and we need to meet their expectations.”
Haack said they anticipate a nine-month design phase. Construction should begin in spring 2020, and the new elementary will open in fall 2021.
The referendum included money for tearing down the current elementary school, constructing the new building, and relocating the softball field.
There also would be some related improvements to the site.
The current elementary school, which is about two miles from the high school complex, was constructed in 1929, according to an informational flyer from the district.
A referendum in the Whitehall school district also gained approval Tuesday, with 427 votes (53 percent) supporting it, while 373 people (47 percent) voted against it. The referendum allows the district to exceed revenue caps by $375,000 per year for the next two school years, then $500,000 per year for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years.
Arcadia voters reject recycling program
In another late referendum result from Tuesday, the city of Arcadia will not be getting a curbside recycling program.
The binding referendum received 107 votes (35 percent) to create the recycling program, while 197 people (65 percent) voted against it. The city does have recycling bins in the city, but no curbside pickup.
Arcadia city administrator Bill Chang said the program would have cost $6.05 per resident per month in 2020, but it would climb to $6.23 in 2021, $6.42 in 2022, and to $6.61 per resident per month in 2023.