Beresford Voters Turn Down $11 Million School Bond

BERESFORD, S.D. – After two and a half years of project planning, Tuesday is election day in Beresford. Voters are deciding whether or not to fund the “Watchdog Legacy Project.” It’s an $11 million decision.

Each of the 695 students in Beresford is a Watchdog, the official mascot. The superintendent says it’s time to give these Watchdogs more space. Old buildings and a growing student population mean that some facilities don’t meet the students’ needs.

On their wishlist is a new 750-seat performing arts center, a larger student commons, a more accessible fitness center, and an auxiliary gym.

“Right now we do not have enough gymnasium space to adequately help all of our teams from youth level all the way up to our varsity athletic program,” said superintendent Brian Field.

If passed, the whole community could access these facilities. For example, they’re hoping to add a full-size high school basketball court and two full-size middle school basketball courts to the gym.

Many other community programs practice on school property, too.

“We really believe it will benefit our students especially,” said Field. “It will serve as a tremendous educational resource. It will enhance what we can do for our students academically and also through their participation in co-curricular activities.”

Right now things are actually pretty crammed. They’re trying to have play rehearsal everyday right here and at the same time, I have P.E. and sports practice right here.

So, how much would it cost taxpayers? It would cost a dollar and sixty cents per 1,000 dollars. So, for example, a $200,000 home would cost the owner $320 annually. It’ll take 20 years to pay.

“I think a lot of the people that are in Beresford are, kinda have been here for a long time or are here to stay, so the vote is important as it will really affect our community,” said Erin Stephens of Beresford.

If passed, the district is hoping to start construction this summer.

“We believe this project will leave a legacy for generations,” said Field.  “It’ll make a tremendous difference in our student lives and in our community forever.”

The vote needs sixty percent to pass.

The district says normally hundreds of people vote, but today they’re expecting over a thousand voters. That’s half of eligible voters.  

According the school district, the bond was not passed by voters. There were 370 ‘yes’ votes, and 673 ‘no’ votes.

The bond needed 60% to pass.

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