Santa Fe Trail Voters To Decide Bond Issue

OVERBROOK, Kan. (WIBW) - From taking shots to taking the stage, USD 434 board president Randy Boudeman says one space in the current Santa Fe Trail High School illustrates why he wants voters to approve a $4.6 million bond issue.

A person standing in the room where tables and chairs are arranged and staff is setting up to serve lunch can also view the stage set for the school's play and hear sneaker squeaking on the basketball court in use by a gym class, separated by a curtain bearing the Chargers mascot logo.

Boudeman says it's a typical scene. On one day last week, he says, play rehearsal was going on while a fundraiser, band meeting and wrestling event unfolded at the same time in essentially the same room.

The bond up for vote April 2 would fund construction of two new additions. One would house a weight room, wrestling area, locker rooms so visting teams would no longer have to use classrooms to change, and an auxiliary gym for things like practices and JV games and with the regulation size volleyball court the current gym lacks.

The second would would be a fine arts facility, with an auditorium, and expanded choir and band facilities. Boudeman says the district has 80 students in band right now, which is projected to grow to more than 100 within a couple years, while the current band facilities are designed for 50 students.

Construction would take a unique form - a pair of monolithic domes. They would be added to the back side of the existing high school structure, connected via hallways. Boudeman says they're solid concrete, at a price tag as much as $1.5 million less than traditional buildings. In addition, he says the design will have heating and cooling costs about 50 percent less than on a traditional structure.

A bond expiring this year costs taxpayers an extra $87.40 a year on a $100,000 home. The price tag on this bond would be $50.16 a year, so supporters are pointing out property tax bills would still go down.

Some people told 13 News they questioned expanding facilities at a time district enrollment is decreasing and for nonacademic purposes.

But supporters say it's worth it. District resident Darcy Sund says the district is in desparate need of a new facility.

Boudeman points out that studies show students involved in music and athletics do better in their studies and with their behavior. He says the district wants students to be involved at the school. In that way, he says, they aren't sitting home with nothing to do.

Besides Santa Fe Trail, USD 345 Seaman school district also has a bond issue on Tuesday's ballot. Find information on both at the links accompanying this story.