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Third time’s the charm for Park Rapids school bond

The ballot question passed by a margin of 55% in favor to 45% against.

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Students line up for lunch service Oct. 20, 2021 at Park Rapids Area High School. Relocating the school kitchen is among the priorities of the school facility improvement project funded by a bond that passed in a special election Nov. 2. Robin Fish / Park Rapids Enterprise

Park Rapids Area Schools’ request for a $51.65 million voter-approved bond passed at the polls on Tuesday.

It was the district’s third attempt in the past year to win approval of a bonding question to fund school facility improvements. Notably, the project proposes to demolish the Frank White Education Center and replace it with a new high school wing for grades 7-9.

A previous ballot question requested authorization to issue $59.8 million in school building bonds, but failed in a special election April 13 by only 45 votes. A similar proposal divided into two questions had failed Nov. 3, 2020, with a margin of 116 votes on the first question and 426 on the second.

According to a post-election press release from Superintendent Lance Bagstad, Tuesday’s vote totals were 1,460 in favor of the proposal vs. 1,193 against – a margin of 267 votes, or 55% to 45%.

In precinct results, the voters broke down as follows:

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  • Park Rapids: 2,233 total votes; 1,305 yes vs. 928 no.

  • Lake George: 108 total votes; 30 yes vs. 78 no.

  • Osage: 312 total votes; 125 yes vs. 187 no.

Early voters cast 1,194 ballots in the election.
Election results are unofficial as of press time, pending the school board’s ballot canvass scheduled for Friday morning.

“We are thrilled at this incredible step forward for our schools,” Bagstad said. “This referendum puts us in a very good position to meet the needs of current and future students for years to come.”

School board chair Sherry Safratowich praised the voters’ commitment as an “exciting investment in our school district.” She added, “By improving the quality of our school facilities, our students will be better prepared for life after graduation.”

Design for the facility upgrades will begin soon, the release states, with construction expected to be completed by summer 2025. For more information, contact Bagstad at 218-237-6501 or lbagstad@parkrapids.k12.mn.us.

Related Topics: EDUCATION
Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at rfish@parkrapidsenterprise.com or 218-252-3053.
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