© 2022 KMUW
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Local coverage of education issues, health care, and science and technology.

Maize Voters Approve $108.2M Bond For New Schools, Pool

Maize USD 266
The Maize district's five elementary and two middle schools are currently near capacity levels. The district added 600 new students in the past five years.

Voters in the Maize school district approved a $108.2 million bond for two new schools and a complex for an auditorium and indoor swimming pool.

Election officials say about 12% of registered voters cast ballots in the special election. A 2015 bond election with only mail-in ballots had about 38% turnout.

The district split the bond issue into two questions in case voters didn’t want to give the district its first swimming pool. Unofficial results show voters passed Question 1 — for the new schools — with 2,549 votes or 85% in favor, and Question 2 — the swimming complex — with 2,292 votes or 77% in favor.

An election audit to certify the results is scheduled for Friday.

The district will build two intermediate schools for fifth and sixth grades to relieve crowding at middle and elementary schools. All schools in the district will get safety and security improvements.

Maize High and Maize South High schools will be renovated, while Complete High school, the district’s alternative school, will receive a storm shelter.

Credit Maize USD 266

Superintendent Chad Higgins says the pool will have eight lanes, a diving well and seating for 300 people, similar to what’s offered at area high schools. He says the pool will serve students beyond the high school swim teams.

“We’re also going to add a zero-entry pool area so our special needs students who now use the Northwest YMCA ... on a daily basis we can keep here in the district, and then also look at expanding our curriculum for elementary students to provide swim instruction and so forth,” Higgins says.

The pool will be built in a new complex that will also house a 950-seat fine arts auditorium. Higgins says combining the auditorium and pool in one building meets needs and saves money.

“If we place those two facilities in the same facility, then we can save some infrastructure costs as far as parking, lighting, HVAC, plumbing, those kinds of things, and put them in one location,” Higgins says.

The district also plans to upgrade outdoor playgrounds and add new indoor STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) labs for elementary schools.

Higgins says the new schools are expected to open in two years.

Voters in the Maize district approved five bond issues since 1986 to support the growing student population.

Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Deborah joined the news team at KMUW in September 2014 as a news reporter. She spent more than a dozen years working in news at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. Before relocating to Wichita in 2013, Deborah taught news and broadcasting classes at Tarrant County College in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.