Yes to the Bond

Provisions for Extra-Curriculars, Additional Classrooms, Updated Grounds Make Passing the Bond a Must

The long sought after school bond has been the topic of much consideration and debate. Some feel that the additions are unnecessary, but others recognize the important role that it could serve in our school.

One of the major issues that has plagued athletes in our school is limited practice space. Teams have had to compete to use the gym. The dance team had to practice in the hallways before school this year. On top of this, some of Conestoga’s sports have been forced to use Nehawka’s facilities to hold practices or practice early in the morning in our gym. The school district no longer owns the Nehawka building, but has been able to reach an agreement with the current property owner to use the space.

The addition of a second gymnasium would remedy this problem by adding more practice space for teams to divvy up. The new gym would also come with greater seating capacity, holding 1,030 people according to the preliminary plan on the district’s facilities information website. This would allow Conestoga to host some conference and district events that we would not be able to with our current seating for 750.

“It’s not a hard rule, but gyms that have less than 1000 available seats rarely

Conestoga students pose with a “Vote Yes” sign before prom. (Tracy Andersen)

get selected to host district events. For wrestling in particular, gyms need to hold 3 mats to host large events. Our current gym only fits 2, so this will allow us to be considered to host a district event if the bond passes,” said Sean Trampe who coaches cross country, track and wrestling.

The bond also provides for much needed additional classrooms at both the high school and the elementary school. Grade sizes are getting larger, especially with the expansion of Omaha. Some grades have already had to increase the number of classrooms they use, which comes at the expense of other programs. These larger grades will soon move to the High School, which will also need to accommodate them.

Larger classes are proven to be a less beneficial environment for students. This means that having space and teachers to accommodate more rooms is more important than ever when we are on the brink of overcrowding. Restricting the number of out-of-district students only goes so far to solving the issue, but these new classrooms will nip it in the bud.

Additionally, the fine arts get to share some of the love. Renovations will be made to the stage, and a new art room will be put in.

On top of this, the bond also provides for reconstruction and renovation of the grounds at both schools. This has to do mainly with parking availability. Most importantly, our parking lots are not in compliance with certain updated ADA codes. This needs to be fixed and will be solved according to the plan for updating the grounds using money from the bond.

Any worries about tax increases are also a limited cause for concern in many cases. The tax calculator on the district’s facilities information page can show the impact of the bond passing on an individual’s taxes when a house valuation is input. The increase would amount to four cents a month per $1,000 in assessed value on a property.

The bond has so much good that it can contribute to our school. With only a slight increase in taxes, and higher district spending being any sort of drawback, there isn’t much of a comparable downside to the great help it provides our students. This is why we, The Prowl staff, endorse this bond. It is important that Conestoga’s students have access to classrooms that aren’t overcrowded, proper facilities for their sports and activities, and space for people to park for their performances and games. This isn’t only preferable, it is necessary.