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BCSD Bond forum 1

Bettendorf Community School District Superintendent Michael Raso presents a PowerPoint presentation Nov. 7 on the upgrades the district's schools need and why the district is asking voters to approve a $30 million general obligation bond referendum to be held Dec. 11. 

A general obligation (G.O.) bond for up to $30 million for the Bettendorf Community School District is up for a vote on Tuesday and includes projects intended to “renovate, remodel, improve, furnish and equip” the high school, middle school and Herbert Hoover, Paul Norton and Neil Armstrong elementary schools.

The bond’s plan emphasizes athletics and general facility improvement. Athletics account for 37.8 percent of the proposed $30 million, and, if the bond passes, that money is slated to go toward high school athletic facilities, a high school pool upgrade, and a track and grass field at the middle school.

Voting will be on Tuesday from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. at two polling locations: St. John Vianney Church and the Waterfront Convention Center.

Superintendent Mike Raso and Dallon Christensen, director of finance and business services, said the estimated timeline for the projects will be completed in three to six years with projects being “phased” by type, location and priority, for efficiency. He said if the bond doesn’t pass, it will take between 12 and 15 years to accomplish everything on the list.

One of the first priorities for the bond projects is to update the entrances at Herbert Hoover and Elementary and Paul Norton Elementary, so they are “more secure.”

Raso said that while this particular renovation is listed — and would be paid for — by the bond, “it will happen anyways.”

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“Whether it’s a full-blown renovation with everything that’s on that list, or whether it’s just a front entrance, that will be done first, however it turns out,” he said.

Other renovations include creating a “Future Ready Center” — a “career and college exploration” space with technology studios and workspaces  — out of the old high school auditorium, resurfacing parking lots and upgrading elementary school playgrounds.

Because Bettendorf is landlocked and can’t expand in the same way a district like Pleasant Valley can, Raso said open enrollment was “huge” for the district, and that many of the bond projects under “classroom modernization” and various upgrades are to help attract potential students and their families.

“We’re a comprehensive school district,” Raso said. “People come here for a lot of different reasons, and we want to offer as much as possible and have our instruction, our facilities, whatever it is, as top-notch as we can financially get it there.”

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