SAUK RAPIDS -- Residents in the Sauk Rapids-Rice school district have agreed to invest $37.1 million to replace Pleasantview Elementary School with a new building on the current site.

The ballot measure passed on a 3,054 to 1,222 vote.

In a news release, Superintendent Aaron Sinclair says this was a plan led by the community.

"Residents consistently identified the challenges at Pleasantview as our district’s most urgent need. We're glad to have the community's support to provide a secure, healthy and modern facility for our Pleasantview students."

Sinclair says a home in the district valued at $182,000 will see a property tax increase of $6.85 per month.

The 50-year-old building has faced a variety of issues in recent years, including asbestos in the gym and cafeteria, an aging HVAC system and a deteriorating roof. Space issues also arose following a fire that destroyed several portable classrooms in January.

The referendum is the first step in a long-term plan to improve the quality of the district's facilities. Sinclair says construction could begin as soon as next fall.

District residents voted down referendums in 2017 and 2018.

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