School leaders in southeast Minnesota hope voters will approve a $116 million bond referendum this spring to replace the district's aging high school after donations from three major businesses helped drop the cost by at least $22 million.
Some Owatonna Public Schools officials believe the bill could lower even more as other businesses express interest in replacing the nearly 100-year-old building, the Star Tribune reported.
The referendum, which has been scaled back from its initial $138 million price tag, will be held May 14. The impact on a resident that owns a $175,000 home will be about $23 per month.
Insurance company Federated Insurance has pledged $20 million to the efforts, while Wenger Corp. has offered about $2 million in its music, theater and athletic products. Architectural glass manufacturer Viracon has promised to provide all of the glass in the new building for free. The savings from Viracon's donation won't be clear until the design is complete.
The district plans to use the majority of the project funds on construction of the new high school. Officials will put roughly $2 million toward buying land, $3 million toward demolishing the old school and about $9 million toward a stadium.
Viracon's president, Kelly Schuller, said Owatonna needs a strong school system with up-to-date buildings to keep employees and their families in the area.
Schuller said it's in the company's best interest that students "get a great education and then grow up and want to raise their kids here."
If voters approve the referendum this spring, district officials hope to complete the new school ahead of the 2022-2023 school year.