BONDURANT, Iowa — What was once a small farming community has grown dramatically over the past several years. Nearby towns like Ankeny and Altoona have seen growth, and that has meant growth here.
The Bondurant-Farrar School District is asking voters to approve a $48 million dollar bond issue to fund three projects. Those projects include expanding the high school building for art, physical education, and wrestling teams, a new elementary school that’s planned to be built before the fall of 2027, and new baseball and softball diamonds built near the high school. The current baseball diamond is near the elementary schools, and is the only one for baseball in town.
“I’ve been with the district for 25 years and we had around 800 students when I came to the district as a teacher,” said Chad Carlson, director of Administrative Services. “We’ve grown anywhere from 50 students to upwards of 150 students here and now we’re closing in on 3,000, so we’ve tripled in enrollment in over 25 years.”
The growing student population has meant growing pains for the district. The high school was built a few years back to hold 500 students, it now has 800 students, and they’ve already added a wing to the school.
“We think part of the reason behind it is we have great schools, with great teachers, programs and there are a lot of things for families to get involved in,” said Carlson.
Also the town’s location near the metro is adding people who like its small-town feel. The vote Tuesday is being promoted as one that will not raise the tax rate.
“It does seem a little bit gimmicky in terms of a no tax increase,” said Carlson. “The tax rate has been very deliberately lowered by our school board over the last few years due to commercial growth, we’re talking particularly about Amazon, which has come into the community. We’re just able to kind of ease the burden of our homeowners.”
Amazon has built two large warehouses here, and has been paying property tax to the local government. Which has meant a source of cash to fund the schools, even with the bond issue to borrow money.
The last bond vote in this district saw a 90% voter turnout.