PAYNESVILLE -- Voters in the Paynesville School District have approved a $16-million bond referendum for a new community activities, career and technologies center.

The referendum passed Tuesday with 973 yes votes and 506 no votes.

Paynesville Superintendent Matt Bullard says the project calls for the redevelopment of 15,000 square-feet of existing school space and adding 27,000 square-feet to the high school for more options for student electives and community programming.

We are taking our career and tech exploration wing at the high school and gutting that space and turning it into a 21st century space geared toward not only career and tech exploration but also applied learning where kids can learn new skills and apply them in real world applications.

The new facility will include a full automotive shop, four-court fieldhouse, walking track, group fitness classroom, wrestling/multipurpose room and house the community education offices.

Bullard says the project will erase scheduling conflicts for student athletes and give a recreation space for the community.

We don't have adequate space for all of our student activities. Our gymnastic team leases space at another facility and so we will be able to bring all of our activities back to our campus.

The facility will attach to the current high school on the north side of the building.

Bullard says they hope to go out for bids on the project by November and anticipate breaking ground on the facility next spring.