Referendum renovations

Zumbrota-Mazeppa had a big vote on November 5th that could change the future of the communities.

The current outside view of the high school in Zumbrota.

Dave Anderson

The current outside view of the high school in Zumbrota.

The mission statement of the Zumbrota-Mazeppa school district is “Build Bridges to the Future” and that is exactly what they intend to do. On November 5th the Zumbrota-Mazeppa School District voted on a referendum to improve the functionality and renovate the current schools. Following the rejection of the former referendum, the school board and school administration restructured the new proposal by doing a third-party survey. 

The new proposal for the referendum had residents of the communities vote on three more specific areas. The first one is “Funds to expand and renovate existing learning spaces, improve safety and security, address required maintenance” with the proposed budget of $38,585,000. The number of students has been increasing more and more as the years go on. With a growing community, the school district hopes to accommodate these changes with overall better existing facilities. Minnesota winters can cause wear and tear on these older buildings and it is important to keep up with the maintenance required. “There has been lots of ceiling leaks in classrooms the past couple years with all the snow we’ve gotten. It would be nice if that was no longer an issue.” says Zumbrota-Mazeppa High School junior Hailey Grudem. The next question voters were posed with is whether or not they want to gather funds to build a new gymnasium in Mazeppa. The Mazeppa Elementary School currently has two gyms. One, is relatively up to date and is useful for classes as well as sporting events. The other gym was established in 1935, and needless to say is a bit outdated. With the addition of the new gym this one would be turned into a cafeteria.

 The final issue being presented in this referendum is building a new gymnasium in Zumbrota and updating current athletic facilities. For example, Z-M is unable to host track meets due to their out of code track. “It would be really cool if we were able to advance our track program and be able to host meets” comments Kalli Olson, Senior track member at Z-M. The school also plans to update the baseball fields and add additional seating. The projected average tax increase for the question one is $24.58 a month, $2.83 for question two, and $4.16 for the final question. 

The uniqueness of this vote is in the fact that voters were able to say yes, or no, to some things but do not have to say yes to everything. As a member of the community, it is important to be informed on these major polls even for those who are not able to participate in the voting. While the vote was very close, question one was the only one that passed. Renovations will begin next year and the school will be seeing lots of improvements.