TUPELO • Voters within the Lee County School District will decide whether to allow a $15 million bond issue today.
The vote will determine whether Lee County Schools can move forward with plans to build a $9.5 million career and technical education center and implement $2 million in security upgrades.
LCSD superintendent Coke Magee said the remaining funds from the bond issue – currently estimated to be $3.5 million – will be used for infrastructure improvements across the district. There will be discussions in the future with administrators, principals and community members on how best to use the money before any action is taken.
Sixty percent of votes cast must be in favor of the bond issue for it to pass and only residents living within the school district are eligible to vote. The bond issue will not increase tax rates.
The proposed 33,000 square foot facility is expected to accommodate 140 to 180 students at a time. It will include five classrooms and four shop areas with classrooms. Centrally located restrooms, a conference room and two collaboration spaces for events like job fairs and mock interviews will also be included.
Parking spaces for up to 140 vehicles and buses will be provided. Buses will transport students to and from the center throughout the day.
There are eight proposed pathway programs that will be offered at the center. Four will be classroom-based: health science, teacher academy, information technology and hospitality and tourism. The other four will be shop-based: construction/carpentry; transportation, distribution and logistics; industrial maintenance and ag power equipment/ag and natural resources.
The center will be built at the Community Development Foundation’s new industrial park called the Hive where Lee County Schools owns 20.62 acres of land. It’s about an equal distance from each of Lee County Schools’ three high schools: 16 miles from Saltillo High School, 19 miles from Mooreville and 12 miles from Shannon. Travel times from the schools to the technical center are between 16 and 21 minutes each.
If approved, Lee County Schools should have the $15 million in hand around 90 days after the vote. Construction on the career technical center will tentatively begin in late spring with a goal of having the facility completed by fall 2021.
Votes will be cast at voters’ regular polling places between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.