Ames votes in favor of $110 million high school referendum


Courtesy of Ames School District

Ames Community K-12 schools adopted The Black Lives Matter in School Action Week from Feb. 1 to 5 during Black History Month.

Jill Alt

The votes have been counted, and Ames residents have voted to approve the Ames bond referendum for a new high school.

The vote needed 60 percent yes votes to pass, and of 5,502 ballots, 84.77 percent of votes were in favor of the referendum. That’s 4,664 in favor, and 838 opposed. The polling centers were open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday at eight locations in the Ames area.

The Ames Community School District $110 million referendum is going to be used to build a new Ames high school, and optimistically will begin construction of the new high school in the fall of this year.

The Ames School District school board has assured Ames residents that the referendum will not raise the property tax rate, similarly to the geo-bonds for the new elementary school building. The promise was made that the tax rate would not surpass $14.65, and in fact ended up dropping to $14.34 and has maintained this rate since 2014. 

Ames Community School District Chief Financial Officer Chris Stensland said  in a video posted to Facebook that this is due to the fact that these bonds are set to be callable from 2019 to 2021, but by calling the bonds early, taxpayers will be saving over $6 million in interest. 

Haila Architecture performed an evaluation on Ames high school and cited the circulation of students, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility and a lack of security facilities as major concerns. 

The new high school is set to be built along Ridgewood Avenue — where the practice fields are currently located. The softball field has already been relocated, and the tennis courts are going to be relocated, both to the 24th street athletic complex using Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) funds. This will open up the space for construction of the new high school.

The current high school has been functioning since 1960, making it the longest standing high school in Ames history at 57 years. This is almost twice as long as the next longest standing high school — the first one at 31 years.

For more information on the referendum, click here.