Ballots in the mail for Feb. 14 special election

STANWOOD — A request to voters for $147.5 million to build a new high school is the biggest ask in the Feb. 14 special election.

Lake Stevens voters also are set to decide on two measures that would allow for construction of a new library, while voters in Granite Falls consider a bond for upgrading the middle school and adding a grandstand at the high school.

Ballots should arrive in the mail by the end of the week.

Stanwood High School

The Stanwood-Camano School District has plans for a new high school and alternative high school, and administrators are asking voters to approve a $147.5 million bond to pay for the project.

The bond is not expected to increase overall rates for taxpayers because it would start as previous debts are paid off. The high school bond would cost about $1.23 per $1,000 assessed property value in 2018, or about $308 on a $250,000 home. An existing levy for repair and maintenance is decreasing, and the bond would take its place. The total local tax rates for the district would stay at $3.52 per $1,000, or $880 on a $250,000 home.

The new school would be built for 1,700 students. Current enrollment is about 1,200. No major spikes in enrollment are expected in the coming years.

Detailed designs still are in the works and would move forward if the measure is approved. It requires at least 60 percent of the vote.

The current high school opened in 1971. Teachers and administrators cite a number of reasons for a new school. The classrooms weren’t built for modern lessons and technology. Storage space is limited. Many of the walkways are outside. There are too many exterior doors, making security a challenge. The plumbing is old and failing. The campus is sprawling and Stanwood High allows longer passing periods than most schools so students can cross it, cutting into instruction time.

Another proposal to build a new high school failed to win voter approval a decade ago, when they rejected a $110.7 million bond.

Lake Stevens library

Sno-Isle Libraries is asking voters to approve a $17 million bond for building a new library to replace the one at North Cove. Property already has been bought on the northwest corner of 99th Avenue NE and Market Place.

Along with the bond, voters would need to approve a capital facility area to determine who would pay taxes on the new library. The boundaries proposed are the same as the Lake Stevens School District. The capital facility area needs more than 50 percent approval to pass.

The bond requires 60 percent of the vote. It would cost taxpayers an estimated 24.5 cents per $1,000 assessed property value, or roughly $61 a year on a $250,000 home

Supporters plan to go door-to-door in Lake Stevens on Saturday to talk with people about the library, volunteers Katrina Ondracek said. Lake Stevens used to be a small town, but it grew rapidly in recent years because of annexations and new housing developments. Ondracek sees the new library’s location near Lake Stevens’ commercial center as a way to pull together a community that now is spread out around the lake.

Planning for a new library in Lake Stevens started more than 15 years ago. The current library is the smallest of the Sno-Isle locations in Snohomish County but serves the fifth largest population of Sno-Isle’s 21 libraries. A new library likely would be up to eight times bigger.

Granite Falls school bond

The Granite Falls School District is seeking voter support for a $13.7 million bond that would cost voters about 13 cents per $1,000 assessed property value, or about $33 on a $250,000 home.

The money would go toward two projects. One is an update of Granite Falls Middle School. Classrooms would be overhauled to suit specific types of classes, including engineering and manufacturing, environmental science, digital media and communications and culinary arts. The school was built in 1964 and the classrooms are not designed for modern courses, according to the district.

Detailed plans for classrooms and construction would be put together if the bond passes, district spokeswoman Melanie Freeman said.

The bond also would pay for a grandstand at Granite Falls High School. The school was finished in 2008 with a track and field but no grandstand. The district already has put about $1.5 million toward improving the athletic field with lights, a press box, scoreboard, concessions, a ticket booth and restrooms. There’s seating for 500 people on temporary bleachers. The grandstand would add seating for up to 2,000 spectators along with team meeting rooms and storage.

Some bond money also would go toward security upgrades across the district, including video cameras, better lighting and fencing and an upgraded alert system.

The bond requires 60 percent approval.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com.

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