• Last modified 466 days ago (Feb. 15, 2023)


Schools seek $3.26 million in borrowing for sports

Staff writer

Voters will be asked May 9 to approve $3.26 million in borrowing for a new sports facility south of Marion Stadium.

The Marion-Florence school board voted Monday for the most expensive of three proposals for the 10,500-square-foot building.

It would house new locker rooms, concessions, and bathrooms, Superintendent Lee Leiker said water leaks have caused problems with such areas beneath the grandstand of the stadium.

The repayment of the loans would begin in September with the end of payments already made since 2006 for construction of a gymnasium and pool and performing arts center.

The amount of money borrowed assumes Sunflower Wind farm will make payments in lieu of taxes to the district after its wind farm, now under construction in the southern portion of the county, becomes operational.

If no payments come from the wind farm, taxpayer cost would be higher according to district bond counsel Steve Shogren.

Shogren said no agreement has been made for the wind farm to pay the district, but such payments customarily are made.

Leiker showed school board members drawings of the proposed building.

Two pickle ball courts would double as a summer weight training area and could be reserved for parties, Leiker said.

Leiker said he anticipates the building could be completed in time for the 2024-2025 school year.

With the current bond issue expiring in September, the new bond would not increase taxes.

Taxpayers now pay 5.534 mills, or $57.2769 on a typical $90,000 home, annually to repay that loan.

“Timing-0wise, it’s time to look at the possibility of doing a new bond issue to do other work,” Leiker said.

He said he had reviewed the district’s needs and wanted to undertake a project that would be benefit both the district and the community.

Facilities at the football stadium are in bad shape, Leiker said.

Pickle ball courts would be developed as part of the district’s recreation program.

“I think it’s important for the community,” he said.

Pickle ball is a fast-growing sport popular with people of all ages, he said.

Recreation director Jimmy Shipman told board members a couple of people older than 60 had asked whether the recreation program would include pickle ball.

If bond money is sufficient, the district also would install new lighting for football, baseball, and softball fields.

Last modified Feb. 15, 2023