HALSEY — Central Linn voters were saying no to new school buildings by a margin of more than 2 to 1 in unofficial Linn County election returns posted Tuesday.
Measure 22-168 would have authorized the Central Linn School District to sell up to $28.95 million in bonds to construct new buildings on the current high school campus at 32433 Highway 228, Halsey.
At press time, the measure was failing by a count of 1,243 no votes to just 575 yes votes.
"We are shocked at the margin," said Stacey Meneses, co-chair of the Yes for Central Linn Schools political action committee. "We are incredibly disappointed."
Voters turned down a similar bond request for $32.1 million in May 2016. PAC members said they thought they had a better chance this time because voters then said they didn't have enough information about what was being requested, and because the district had worked hard to come up with a more cost-effective plan.
Central Linn Junior-Senior High was built in 1958. Central Linn Elementary School, at 239 W. Second St. in Halsey, was built in sections between 1938 and 1970. The district has commissioned studies in past years that show problems with roofs, boilers, windows, wiring, heating, plumbing and other physical structures at both schools.
The idea of this bond measure would have been to demolish the current junior-senior high school and build a series of pod-shaped buildings that would house all three grade levels on the high school campus.
The thin-shelled concrete dome structures were to be designed by a company in Utah. The Yamhill-Carlton School District chose the same company to build a dome-shaped gym.
The domes are thought to be much cheaper to construct, more energy-efficient and better at withstanding earthquakes, tornadoes and other natural disasters than their traditionally-shaped counterparts.
Central Linn's preliminary designs showed separate domed buildings for elementary, middle and high school programs. They radiate out like wheel spokes from a central hub that would have had shared facilities, such as a library and cafeteria.
The district had planned to turn the current elementary school into a bus and maintenance facility, but save the elementary gym and lobby for community use.
The bond also would have been used to replace the current Central Linn High School track and make repairs and improvements to the football field and stadium.
Meneses said it's too soon to say whether voters will see a third request to replace the schools. "Ultimately, that’s up to the school board if they want to immediately go back out in May," she said.