ELGIN, OK (KSWO) - Elgin residents have the opportunity to vote on a nearly 50-million dollar school bond proposal to upgrade facilities on August 23rd. That bond would come with an increase in property taxes in the area.
The bond would be used to build a new Agriculture building, create new safe rooms, upgrade the football stadium, create a STEM building, build an auditorium and much more. The renovations would be paid for by an increase in property tax of nearly 12 percent.
Geoffrey Buhlig has two sons in the Elgin School District and is strongly in support of the bond even though it's likely that his boys won't be around to enjoy the benefits.
"We're looking more towards the future," Buhlig said. "Elgin is a growing community, the Elgin Public School District encompasses a very large area in Comanche County."
Elgin Public Schools Superintendent Nate Meraz said the school district is growing by 65 to 75 students each year, which is a big reason he feels they need the upgrades.
"Conditions are crowded, we need more classroom space," Meraz said. "Right along with that is always keeping in mind safety and the weather we can have around here in this part of the country. So we're proposing there be safe-rooms in each of those class rooms."
One of the big upgrades would be to the agriculture building, which has been around since 1979. The building is metal with wood paneling on the inside.
"We're happy to have that, we're glad the voters were ok with that back in 1979," Meraz said. "We'd like to keep pace with the current times and get them back into something nice"
Meraz said the high school has around 700 children enrolled and is likely the only school that size in the entire state that doesn't have an auditorium.
"We've got a terrific fine arts program, our band is just doing terrific and we want to make sure we give our students an opportunity there," Meraz said.
The bond also plans to improve the school's football stadium, which is often a big issue for those opposing a school bond. Meraz said the stadium was built in 1983 and is in desperate need for renovations.
"It's got the same light fixtures, same bleachers, same field house as it did back then, same press box, everything is identical," Meraz said. "This school has gone from a 2A school to a 5A school and we really need these changes. It's not just for athletics, that's a community thing and we have many people who come out and enjoy our stadium for many various activities."
Meraz says it's important to remember what these things would mean for the students of Elgin.
"If you're a student at Elgin schools, you're going to be able to go to a top notch ag technology center and learn about hydroponics," Meraz said. "If you're really into getting your hands onto things and manipulating them as a learning tool, then you're going to have a STEM center where you can put your hands on things and get hands on learning."
By state law the bond will need at least 60-percent of the vote to pass. You can go to the school's website to see the exact amount your property tax would raise month-by-month if the bond is passed.
A question and answer session where parents and residents can come to speak with Superintendent Meraz about the bond issue is being held Tuesday, August 16th at the Wichita Mountain Estates Fire Department at 7:00 p.m.