Manila School District approved for $14 million

Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Superintendent Pam Castor stands by the dedication sign of Tipton Hall built in 1950. Tipton Hall served Manila high school students and later junior high students. Classrooms are still being used in the 65 year old building.

Thursday, April 30, was a good day for the Manila School District as Superintendent Pam Castor said she received notice the school had been approved for $14,029,718.01, for a new high school building project.

It has been a long process with the school applying for the partnership funding in February 2013.

"I am excited for the students, teachers and the community," Castor said. "We were not sure if we would be approved for the first round of funding or if we would have to wait."

"It has been a good week for both Manila and Buffalo Island Central School District," Castor said. "We received the most funding in the state and BIC received the second most for their proposed building projects."

Castor said the district will still have to look at asking for a millage increase to help meet the district's 30 percent obligation.

"If any district does not pass the millage for the matching portion, the money will be turned back," she said. "The state is giving the districts this money and we are expected to do our part. This is probably the most partnership money we will have the opportunity to receive. As the community grows, assessment grows and the district would be responsible for a larger percentage for future projects."

She went on to say with the projects at BIC, Manila and the new East elementary at Riverside, the progress will have a positive outcome for the whole area.

Tipton Hall in Manila was built in 1950 and several classrooms are still being utilized as the present high school, built in 1975, is at capacity.

"The projects' funding is based on the condition and age of the schools," Castor said. "Fifty years is about the life of a building. Even if structures look good, the heating and air systems, wiring systems, and safety issues such as safe room areas, are major factors."

Currently enrollment at Manila is 1,056 with about 150 on staff.

"Growth is coming," Castor said. "More people will be drawn to the area as long as the advances are made in housing. Right now there is a lot of housing construction underway throughout the district, in town and out of town."

Castor said it time to go to work. The architects are currently working on a design.

"We will know more in the near future," she said. "I am excited about the kids and the future generation of kids who will benefit from this project. It will have a positive, long time effect on the community."

If the millage is approved the funds will be available and the project can begin. It is estimated the building project will take about 18 months from start to finish.

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