Board approves building project package

Staff Writer Kate Wehlann

Several individuals who were in favor of the project package came up after the meeting to thank the board, including Jamie Tharp, who spoke during the meeting, talking about the home children she loves found in the fine arts programs at the school.

During a special public meeting Friday afternoon, the Salem Community Schools Board approved a package of projects spanning the entire campus, totalling around $13 million.

The projects include a band and choir room at the high school, artificial turf for the football field, new tennis courts, renovations to the middle school pool, a new floor and sound system for the elementary gym and more.

Contentions grew when it came time to decide how this project would be paid for. Superintendent Kim Thurston said the school would pursue the use of bonds to cover the cost, which would raise property taxes, significantly in some years, until 2025.

The board room was packed with citizens, including students, who were both proponents and opposed to the projects.

At first, board member Ron Haendiges proposed tabling the issue, pending further thought and discussion, which board member Steve Motsinger agreed with. However, that motion was overturned by a vote of 5-2, with members Erika Garloch, Rebecca White, Monika Spaulding, Tricia Wheeler and Mark "Bubba" Abbott, who wanted to vote on the matter that night.

After more discussion, another vote was taken to approve the package, which passed with the same ratio — Garloch, White, Spaulding, Wheeler and Abbott approving and Motsinger and Haendiges opposing.

For more about the meeting, the discussion and the vote, see the next issue of The Salem Leader-Democrat.

Want to watch the whole meeting for yourself? The video from our live broadcast is on the Facebook page, here!


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