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Caroline County voters overwhelmingly voted yes for a $26.3 million bond referendum on the ballot on Tuesday.
In all 12 brick and mortar precincts in Caroline, there were more yes votes than no votes for the school bond referendum. The absentee ballots, which are treated as a 13th precinct, favored the bond too. More than 80 percent (6,107) of all votes were yes votes, while 1,448 voted no.
Close to $21 million is needed to expand and upgrade Caroline High, while $4 million is needed to expand and upgrade Madison Elementary School, school officials have said. The other $1.3 million is for the cost of issuing the bonds.
“We are so elated that the results came in this way,” said Nancy Carson, chairman of the Caroline County School Board. “So happy. It sends a really strong message about how the voters feel about the schools.” School and county officials and school administrators gathered at a local restaurant and celebrated as the votes were counted.
At the next meeting of the School Board, which is Nov. 11, “I hope we can start getting architects to send in bids and break ground in May, if we can,” Carson added. The work on the schools will take nearly two years.
The unofficial vote count at the Dawn precinct, for example, was 868 yes votes and 154 no votes. Chilesburg’s unofficial count showed 541 yes and 106 no. Bowling Green’s vote was 562 yes and 182 no. Sparta’s was 424 yes and 139 no. Madison’s was 408 yes and 81 no. Madison’s was 590 yes and 108 no. Woodford’s was 640 yes and 146 no. Carmel Church was 309 yes and 54 no. Mattaponi was 582 yes and 102 no. Milford’s was 472 yes and 144 no. The Lake Precinct was 348 yes and 95 no. Port Royal’s results were not available.
Renovation plans for the 35-year-old Caroline High include: replace the roof system, replacement windows, renovate the old library into classrooms, renovate the old administration area into classrooms, replace the entire HVAC system, replace all lighting, replace the entire suspended tile ceiling, new electrical service upgrades as required, new intercom/communications system, new paint throughout, locker room and restroom renovation/plumbing upgrades and new light and sound system for the auditorium.
Building additions at CHS would include: a new entrance and administration area, a new media center (library), new 14,000 square foot gymnasium, new classrooms and three new vocational labs. The school will get a net gain of 16 new classrooms.
Plans call for these athletic facility improvements: upgrade bleachers, re-surface the asphalt track, relocate the long/high jump, restroom facility renovation, expand and renovate the field house and upgrade the athletic fields.
Caroline High had two power outages in October due to faulty equipment. In addition, raw sewage flowed out of bathroom floor drains, moved across a hallway and went into one of the two cafeterias at the high school in October.
Proposed new additions and renovation for Madison would include: construct a new secure entrance with an expanded lobby into the school, expand the cafeteria dining area, add four new classrooms, two new computer labs, a new media center, construct a new paved bus drop off/pick up area and pave the parking lot.