Betting On The Bond

Conestoga Student’s Positive Views on the School Bond


Taken from

Diagram of potential additions to the Jr./Sr. High School.

Murray, Neb.–This year at Conestoga there have been many meetings about a proposed school bond. This bond would include many new things, including a new gym, new classrooms, renovations to current classrooms, and much more. The students here at Conestoga have not been included much in this process, but they do have their own thoughts and opinions on the proposed bond.

Sixty-three students responded to a survey about the bond and what they knew about it. Twenty-nine out of 63 (46.0%) students said yes, they knew about the bond. Eight out of the 63 (12.7%) said no, they didn’t know about the bond, and the remaining 26 students said yes, but they don’t know a lot about it (41.3%). I asked students from grades 7-12 for their opinions about the bond. A lot of these students had very positive opinions about it.

Lindee Watson, a junior at Conestoga, had a lot to say about the bond. “A lot of it seems nice, but some seems excessive. I think about how beautiful the area on the side of the school where they plan on building the art area is. There are so many trees back there and it is such a great area.” She also mentioned the issue of gym space to hold practices. “Our 5-time state champion dance team has to practice in the hallways, and kids are having to be carted out to Nehwaka. That (Nehakwa) gym is not the ideal place to host school-sponsored practices. Not to mention that when we cannot use that gym, junior high basketball players are having to practice in the morning almost all season.” Watson feels that morean added gym is something that Conestoga is in dire need of. “Another thing that I know many people feel strongly about is the lack of attention for the ag department. Most schools have a whole shop and all we have is some cabinets, really” she added. Watson isn’t the only junior with an opinion on the school bond Allison Lewien, Addison Anderson, and Mati Steckler also had strong opinions on the bond.

Steckler said “As a member of the dance team, I think that this bond needs to go through. This year, the JH girls were unable to use the Nehawka gym for practice. This meant that they were practicing in the mornings in the gym. For years, we have been able to have practice before school in the gym, but we were forced out due to not having enough gyms. It is really difficult to have a dance practice in the hallway, and it made it difficult to prepare for state dance. The dance and cheer teams have to work around every other sports team in the school, and finding gym space is hard.”

If a new gym is built, the cheer team could practice in the den, which would become a multi-purpose room with wrestlers using it in the winter and other teams using it for activities throughout the year. The dance team could then use one of the gyms for practice without having to worry about competing for space.

Andersen said “I think it is much much needed. It needs to happen. Our school has such limited space, and as an athlete it is extremely difficult to find practice space and tournament space because teams are constantly trying to get time in our two gyms. It also has been a huge eye-opener with COVID this year just how small our school is. It is super hard to social distance on our break unless we are outside. I also think that by having more gym space and stage space we will be able to host more which brings in a lot of money.”

Allison Lewien said “As a student, I think this will be good for Conestoga in many ways. There will be more room for practices, especially the sports that happen at the same time and all year round.”

Myah Cummings, a senior, also had an opinion on the school bond. “I think it is an amazing plan for our school. As a member of the dance team, we have always had problems with getting gym time other teams have always gotten first dibs over us, but even when we did have the gym we have gotten scheduled over, causing us to practice in the hallway, which is not efficient because we cannot go full out due to not enough space, and it is also not very safe to do many tricks on that floor since it is straight concrete with thin carpet over. With the new gym being added, the future of the dance team can have more practices that will be efficient. This year we even had to travel to a studio in Plattsmouth due to no space allowed for us. Going onto the new classrooms, I really think it would be beneficial to the students to have more space for learning, especially because we have seemed to gain a lot of new students over the past couple of years.”

The extra gym space would allow the cheer and dance teams to practice somewhere other than the hallways.

If passed, construction would begin after the 2021 seniors have left or graduated so I asked some of them how they would feel that this would happen after they left Conestoga.

Bridget Wagner: “It would have been nice for me considering what I want to do in the future isn’t offered much here. With a new art room and studio, I feel like I’ll miss out on a lot since art was something I wanted to do when I was just a freshman. It’s awesome, though, that the fine arts are getting money put into them and having upgrades. I hope future students who come have many more options for classes and get the classes they want.”

Dawson Hardesty: “I am sad I won’t be here in school for it all, but I will come back to Conestoga so I will still see it eventually.”

Braden Ruffner: “It will benefit the students to come greatly.”

There was consideration to construct a new weight room within the school building, along with a jogging track and the new gym. These things would be open to the public, similar to the track and the stadium. I asked the students again if they would use these facilities and 55 (87.3%) out of 63 said yes that they would use them, while eight (12.7%) said no.

Also included in the bond issue is a plan to renovate the stage, adding more storage and to making it a bigger area. Another idea that was brought up was to build a new performing arts auditorium. I asked the students how they felt about renovating the stage, or just building a new auditorium. Forty out of 63 said that we should just build a new auditorium, and 17 said renovate the old stage.

Watson said “I think it would be more beneficial to add an auditorium instead of a jogging track. I do however know and understand the need for the new gym. This school needs another gym as soon as possible.”
The school is in need of many different renovations. Aside from the stage/auditorium and new gym, more classrooms and more parking spaces are also badly needed. Improvements and remodeling to existing areas will better serve the students of Conestoga.

Some of these possible future additions also include a fitness facility (which was taken off a previous plan), an animal science lab, an expanded gravel parking lot, and a future gravel access road.

In the mind of a student it is easy to see that changes need to be made. So please consider this when voting on the bond.