AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - After a tax referendum failed in 2013, the plan to help aid overcrowding in Auburn City Schools is finally moving forward.
Members of the Auburn City Council met Tuesday to canvass the result of the 2015 Special Municipal Bond Election.
Nearly 2,900 ballots were cast, with only 429 votes against the referendum allowing for $78 million worth of new and existing facilities for Auburn City Schools.
"The citizens voted to allow us to issue bonds to pay for a new high school and it passed with about a 85 percent approval rating," explains Auburn City Manager Charlie Duggan.
Site preparation is underway at the location of the new high school on Samford Avenue
Construction will cost $72 million and is set to start this summer.
"This was the plan we came up with after the property tax referendum failed. It doesn't get the school system all of the money all they were looking for, it gives them a portion of it, but it's enough to keep them moving, get the new high school in place, solve a lot of problems they were going to have if they didn't get the new high school," says Duggan.
The remaining $6 million will renovate existing facilities.
The 5-Mill tax will be dedicated to Auburn City Schools for 30 years, making it the largest and longest project the fund has supported.
"We're excited that is passed. It gives us some confidence moving forward that we have support from the community. The number of voter turnout reflects that, so it's a mixture of excitement and relief," explains Daniel Chesser, Public Relations Specialists for Auburn City Schools.
The new 347,000 square-foot high school will house 2,200 students.
Architects are currently meeting with teachers to find out what is needed, so every corner of the new facility is utilized.
"It's really an effort for the future of Auburn City Schools and these students that are coming up from our elementary level," says Chesser.
The new high school is set to open its doors in August 2017.