TOP 10 of 2018: Voters approve $83M school bond for VWSD
Published 7:00 pm Monday, December 31, 2018
Editor’s Note: This is the No. 1 local story in The Vicksburg Post’s Top 10 stories of 2018.
Warren County voters gave the Vicksburg Warren School District a major victory in March with the approval of an $83 million bond referendum to help finance a $131.5 million facilities plan for repairs, renovation and expansions at each of the district’s 13 schools and the construction of one new building.
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The bond issue, the first for the school district in more than 50 years, passed with 68.6 percent of the vote. The $83 million bond will be repaid through a 7.9 mill increase to property taxes in Warren County.
“About five years ago we came to Vicksburg as a family. There was a vision that was very evident what Vicksburg was capable of and we started moving down that road,” Shealy said after the vote. “I want to thank this community not just for their support, but their voice. That was very important to us.
“Every voice matters and everybody counts. We went out to the schools and had talks, and I want to thank the community for that outpouring of information to us. I think that is the very thing that has contributed to this success. The community was very clear about what they wanted,” Shealy said.
“As a daddy, I am elated that my children are in this school district,” Shealy said. “I am so excited that they are going to get the benefit of these people in this community that love them. That is what happened today. People made a decision not about bricks and mortar. They made a decision on caring about children here. Our community spoke loud and clear.”
The $83 million bond referendum will fund the majority of the $131.5 million facilities plan, which includes major renovations and expansions at Vicksburg and Warren Central high schools, the construction of a new Academy of Innovation, and upgrades to the high schools’ athletic facilities including AstroTurf and new tracks.
The remaining $48.5 million will be funded as debt from the construction of the two mega-schools — Sherman Avenue and Dana Road, which were built in 1999 — rolls off the books.
School district trustees, county and city officials held a groundbreaking ceremony in November to officially start the $37 million Vicksburg High School renovation and remodeling project.
According to a project schedule given the trustees by Gary Bailey, who is managing the school renovations for project architects Dale Bailey Architects, the Vicksburg High project is expected to be completed by 2021.
The board is expected to award a bid for the $26.3 million Warren Central High School renovation and remodeling project in March. A bid for track and turf upgrades at the high schools’ athletic facilities are expected to be awarded January.
A bid for the new Academy of Innovation building, which will be built in the area of the junior high schools on Rosa A. Temple Drive, is also expected to be awarded in January.