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Voters to decide DeKalb Central building and athletic upgrades

Projects include expanding the cafeteria at James R. Watson Elementary, improvements at DeKalb Middle School and a new heating system at DeKalb High School.

Posted: Feb. 11, 2019 8:13 PM
Updated: Feb. 11, 2019 11:01 PM

WATERLOO, Ind. (WFFT) - DeKalb Central is looking at 16 facility upgrades at three buildings.

Projects include expanding the cafeteria at James R. Watson Elementary, improvements at DeKalb Middle School and a new heating system at DeKalb High School.

The plan also includes artificial turf at the varsity football field, softball field, baseball field and soccer field.

It is expected to cost tax payers a little more than $56 million.

That's something David Powers with Concerned Citizens for DeKalb County has an issue with.

"We don't know much about those sports activities. But what we do know the district is asking for a heck of a lot of money," said Powers.

Another project includes building a field house in the parking lot next to the football field. The marching band will be moved to an artificial turf practice field.

"They seem to lump everything together, needs with wants. We are wondering about the priorities here," said Powers.

Powers added administrators say these projects will help bring new students to the district.

Schools across northeast Indiana are looking for ways to increase enrollment to get more state funding.

"The issue of attracting new students is a serious question and doubt in our minds as in where are they getting the data for this?" Powers asked.

DeKalb Central said in a press release the project isn't expected to raise taxes for most people living in the district.

That's because the projects would be phased in as old debt is paid off.

But Powers feels the school should look at the larger picture.

"Our taxes overall have been raised five times in the last five years," he said.

FOX 55 has requested interviews with DeKalb Central administrators about the project, however our most recent email wasn't answered before this story was published.

The referendum will be on the ballot May 7.

You can learn more about the project on the district's website.

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