Voters OK referendum for Turner

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TOWN OF BELOIT­ - The School District of Beloit Turner will be building a new elementary school, along with other upgrades, as voters approved a $26.485 million facilities referendum on Tuesday.

Unofficial election results put the count at 2,206 votes (about 57 percent) for the measure and 1,633 votes (about 43 percent) against it.

Turner will be building a new second-fifth grade elementary school, making science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) and physical education improvements at the middle/high school and making district-wide security upgrades. The estimated tax impact is $99 per $100,000 of assessed value.

Superintendent Dennis McCarthy expressed his gratitude for everyone who supported the referendum.

"This is a happy moment for our community really," McCarthy said. "It's a huge thanks to the Citizens Facilities Study Committee and all of those who helped in making the process successful."

He also thanked the school board for their support and for listening to the citizens committee, which provided a referendum recommendation to the board.

"It's exciting for us to know we're moving forward and that the voters have shown support for the board's vision," McCarthy said.

Board President John Turner thanked everyone who put in effort to get this referendum passed after a $24.2 million facilities referendum failed in April.

"I'm very happy for the children that they'll have a modern school to go to and that we'll be able to make other upgrades," Turner said.

The referendum plan will close Townview Elementary School and move second graders out of Powers Elementary School to the new school that'll be located adjacent to the middle/high school off Inman Parkway.

Renovations will be done to the middle school shop and classroom, fabrication lab, physics and engineering lab and a learning space adjacent to the STEAM areas. Additions include a high school technical education classroom, metal and wood shops with storage and art rooms.

The district also will expand the fitness room and add more storage for physical education and athletics, while renovating the bleachers and gym floor in the middle/high school.

One of the larger security upgrades is installing secure entrances that would force visitors into an office and improve staff member's visibility to see those entering the building.

McCarthy said the district hopes to work on the security upgrades and gym renovations this summer, as it would be difficult to do these projects during the school year. He estimates the STEAM upgrades will be complete in about a year-and-a-half and the new school in about two years.

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