When Wisconsinites went to the polls Tuesday to vote in the spring election, residents in the Galesville, Ettrick and Trempealeau areas faced a $10 million question.
For the past ten years, the Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau school district has been thinking about adding a new performing arts center, but it was only early last year that the district started to plan the project.
“We had done a facility study with an outside agency and they indicated that one of the areas that we could improve was a performing arts center and we knew that that’s a big cost. So we wanted to know what our public thought about it,” said District Administrator Aaron Engel.
Following countless meetings and public sessions, the district asked for $9.8 million to build a new performing arts center on Tuesday’s ballot.
The referendum passed with 52 percent voting yes, out of more than 2,500 votes.
“It’s cool that we get to have the space and use the space but the bigger thing, I think, is just the statement from the community that they support what we’re doing and that they care about what we’re doing,” said G-E-T Middle School Music Teacher Kyra Moak.
The current facility used by the arts, dubbed the ‘Gymnatorium’, hosts more than 500 events throughout the year.
“We have a large impact on our communities. Our buildings are used from sun up to sun down by the community for youth organizations, for sports, for community events. You know we are the hub of the community, the center of it, in a lot of ways,” said Engel.
The new center will be used by every students in the district and teachers hope the new facility can help grow the love of the arts.
“A lot of it is a pride thing. They want to feel like they’re having success in music and they can feel proud of what they’re putting on a stage and having the appropriate facility to do it in makes them feel proud,” said Moak.
The district estimates that property tax will increase by $7 a year on property valued at $100,000.
They hope to break ground sometime in the fall or next spring, and have the 30,000 square foot addition ready in a couple of years.