BENZONIA — Benzie County Central Schools finally got the thumbs up from voters on its $39 million bond proposal.
The measure, in different forms, failed three times before garnering enough support from voters — narrowly losing by 101 votes in November 2019, then 114 in May of this year and again by a mere 34 votes in August.
The margin of victory, 716 votes, was not nearly as slim.
Voters in Benzie and Grand Traverse counties approved the proposal 4,483 to 3,767.
The highlight of the 25-year, $39 million proposal is the construction of a new kindergarten through fifth grade elementary school, which will replace Crystal Lake Elementary and be built at the main campus.
Other projects include adding two early education classrooms to Lake Ann Elementary; replacing the roofs at Lake Ann, Betsie Valley and the middle and high schools; upgrading HVAC systems; remodeling the science labs; increasing security measures; building a new bus garage and buying new buses every year for the next decade; and improving technology throughout the district.
Voters in Antrim and Kalkaska counties overwhelmingly passed Elk Rapids Public Schools' $50 million bond proposal, approving the initiative 2,197 to 668.
The district's 30-year, $50 million bond will improve two elementary schools as well as the middle school and high school during the next five to seven years.
Cherryland Middle School and the high school will receive the biggest improvements.
The oldest wings at Cherryland will be rebuilt along with construction of a learning commons area and new classrooms. Some high school classrooms will be renovated and others will be updated.
Lakeland Elementary will get improvements to classrooms, restroom upgrades, a refinished gym floor, repaved parking lots among other projects. Mill Creek Elementary will get mechanical system upgrades, new furniture, playground enhancements and a new storage facility.
A new gymnasium will be built along with four tennis courts and improvements to the school’s performing arts infrastructure.