Voters in Alpena to decide tax for new high school building

ALPENA, Ark. - The Alpena School District officials said their current high school buildings need to be replaced.

Superintendent David Westenhover said, "They require a lot of maintenance to keep up and systems that need to be replaced."

School officials said the classroom sizes are not up to state standards in the Old Main building.

Westenhover said, "We're up all of 25-30 kids from last year. And with the growth of the surrounding area in Green Forest and Harrison, we hope that our growth will continue."

And there are leaks, and electrical and plumbing issues in the buildings.
Not to mention, security concerns.

Travis Conner, the technology and maintenance supervisor Alpena Public Schools, said, "We have seven outside doors. Students come from all different areas of the campus and have to come through this building to get to another building without going around."

The school was approved for a partnership project, where the state would fund about $2.5 million toward the high school building. That leaves $2.7 million for the district to come up with.

Westenhover said, "It ended up about 3.4 mills is what we'd have to have."

If the property tax increase passes, the district will start planning out exactly what they want the building to look like.

Conner said, "It'll be built up to standards. It'll have a safe room. The whole bottom of it will be a safe room. Plus it'll have all the technology we need to keep up with moving forward."​

"Our community is very supportive of our kids. They want our kids to be successful and they celebrate when the kids are successful. And we hope they're going to support our kids," Westenhover said.

But if they don't get the votes to pass the property tax increase, that state funding will be in jeopardy.

"If we don't get that money and we don't have a plan in place and a design set, by later this year, the state's going to say that money is going somewhere else," Westenhover said.