Wayne Community Schools voters approve $28 million bond

WAYNE — Voters in the Wayne Community Schools District recently approved a nearly $28 million bond that would provide for a variety of construction and renovation projects.

The project includes a new building for the kindergarten through the second grade early childhood center, new classrooms for the high school, the renovation of the current assembly hall of the junior high school and the relocation and renovation of a hall weights to allow for a space for the school agriculture program.

The bond requires a tax levy of 12.9 cents, compared to the bond’s current levy of 8.1 cents.

The bond is the result of several years of planning. Mark Lenihan, superintendent of Wayne Community Schools, said the district saw an upward trend in enrollment in 2019, but the pandemic has halted progress on planning for facilities.

“Our enrollment is now about a thousand students, so we’ve seen growth over the last eight to 10 years of about 150 students,” Lenihan said. “This project is adding 22 new classrooms… right now, we’re pretty much out of space. We have no room to grow.”

Now, with a $27,954,000 bond approved for the renovation and construction, the district hopes to begin work within the year, though a project finish date has not yet been set.

After the planned construction, the district is expected to be able to add “300 to 350 students,” Lenihan said.

While enrollment numbers for the entire district are generally increasing, agricultural education at Wayne Community Schools has seen a particular increase in student interest.

“We have … about 85 students who are in our FFA program, and then about a quarter of our student body is in some form of agriculture class,” Lenihan said.

According to the bond’s informational website, more than 240 total students are involved in Wayne Community Schools’ agriculture program.

“(The bond) will give us an opportunity to expand on what we’re doing now and potentially hopefully be able to add more course options for students in the agricultural sector,” said Lenihan.

Other planned renovations involve updating classrooms and labs that were original to the school’s 1960s construction, according to the bond’s informational website.

“We are very grateful to the community,” Lenihan said, adding that the district was also grateful to all parties involved in helping plan and disseminate information about the project.

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