Voters rejected Roland-Story’s school bond issue Tuesday night, with 68 percent opposed to the measure that would have helped fund a new football and track facility and improvements to the high school auditorium. The measure received support from 32 percent of voters.
The unofficial results from the Story County Auditor’s office showed there were 1,271 votes against the bond issue, with 610 votes in favor. The measure would have needed 60 percent approval to pass.
Voters were asked to consider the $5.3 million bond issue, which would have helped fund a $500,000 renovation of the high school auditorium and construction of a $7.2 million football and track facility at the site of the current outlet mall in Story City, which closed in October.
The Story County Auditor’s office reported a 45 percent turnout. At the Roland Area Community Center, 526 residents voted. There were 1,029 votes cast at the Story City Community Center, and 157 absentee votes were cast. The Roland-Story school district has a total of 4,221 registered voters.
“Obviously we are disappointed in the outcome of the bond vote,” said Superintendent Matt Patton. “However, we will continue to search for solutions, that the community can support, to the facility challenges we still face. I believe in Roland-Story schools, and our communities. I know that we can find a way to move forward together.”
Because the school district’s purchase of the mall property was contingent on a successful bond election, the future of that retail space is now in question. On Jan. 19, a fire suppression line in the mall broke, causing a leak of approximately 75,000 gallons of water.
Also in question is what the school district will do about its current facilities involved in the referendum. The football field has experienced erosion due to flooding, and the track is badly cracked. The current facility also has limited seating, the restrooms do not meet code, and the stadium has poor accessibility for handicapped individuals and others with mobility issues. The auditorium is in need of new fireproof curtains, seating, carpet, lighting, and updated sound and video systems.
“I hope that now that the town has spoken, we can move forward and hopefully make improvements where they’re needed. And hopefully we can all move forward together,” said bond opponent Linda Disbrowe, daughter of Harold Holm, who was Story City’s mayor for more than 20 years.