Bond vote set for Mitchell School District

The district is now asking voters to approve a $17 million bond.
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 5:46 PM CDT
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MITCHELL, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - It won’t be long before fences go up and construction begins on a new high school in Mitchell. But due to rising construction costs and inflation, the fate of the second phase of construction will ultimately fall in the hands of voters.

Mitchell’s new high school will be just across the street from the current building, built in 1962. The $43 million building should be completed by the fall of 2024, but without any space for athletics or activities.

“They will be building everything that a school needs to be essentially, except for the activities portion.” Mitchell Interim Superintendent and High School Principal Joe Childs said.

MORE: New Mitchell high school facing cost concerns due to inflation

Those spaces were left on the cutting room floor after the whole building came in $20 million over budget. The district had enough saved to construct the core building, but Childs said these facilities are still needed with the district outgrowing the space they have now.

“So we have five times as many folks coming to watch, five times as many students participating. Five times as many coaches, and so on. We certainly do need to reconsider what this is going to look like in the future, and how we’re going to update this for our student-athletes.” Childs said.

The district is now asking voters to approve a $17 million bond. If passed, new gymnasiums, locker rooms, training facilities and a new gymnastics space would be added on as originally intended. Additionally, the current high school would be demolished to make room for new outdoor practice fields.

“So we’re hopeful that we can get prices where we feel comfortable with them, be good stewards of the taxpayers. But of course, we’ll be making a big push to make sure people have all the relevant facts to make this informed decision.” Childs said.

Childs said he knows the district is asking a lot from taxpayers. But if the vote fails, he said the cost to build these spaces will only increase in the future, and they can’t continue using the space they have now forever.

“Just the fact that if this doesn’t happen, so if the bond isn’t approved, our student-athletes will continue to these facilities. Which means we’ll operating another building and keeping things up and running, which would be strenuous and come with a cost as well.”

The date for the vote is June 6, with absentee voting being held on May 22. More information about the bond vote can be found here.