Centerville Campus.jpg

A conceptual drawing of the proposed Centerville campus construction including as part of Indian Hills Community College's $28 million bond referendum. Early voting is already under way, and election day is Nov. 2. The referendum requires 60% support to pass.

OTTUMWA — More than 12,000 voters in 17 counties gave their approval to a $28 million bond referendum by Indian Hills Community College. The project will fund a new campus in Centerville, and major improvements to the campus in Ottumwa.

The bond needed 60% support in order to pass. It seemed to clear that hurdle with 73.24% of voters supporting the project, according to unofficial results compiled by the Ottumwa Courier.

The highest margin of support came in Appanoose County, where 78.4% of voters, or 1,484, voted yes for the referendum. In Wapello, 76.4%, or 3,469, lent their support.

Jefferson County turned in 73.2% support, while Keokuk tallied 72.3% support. In Monroe County, 68.8% of voters supported the project, and 66.6% supported it in Van Buren.

Indian Hills considers itself a 10-county school, but there are small slivers of its boundaries that extend into seven other area counties.

Decatur County had three ballots cast for the issue, all three against it. One of four Iowa County ballots voted no. But the rest of the voters in 15 counties approved the referendum by 50% of more.

The full project is estimated to cost $34 million, but at least $6 million will come in funds raised privately by the college.

For most residential taxpayers, the referendum raises property taxes by just a few dollars per year, depending on home valuation. College officials say the increase on a property worth $50,000 would be $5.76 per year, and a property worth $100,000 would cost $11.52 per year.

For commercial property valued at $150,000, the increase would be $28.24. The average increase on agricultural land in the region is $0.15 per acre.

Beyond a new campus in Centerville, the project will make improvements at the Ottumwa campus centered toward the fine arts, student wellness and criminal justice. The college will also construct a virtual classroom in each high school in its region.

The vote comes as the college has seen a 3.2% increase in enrollment this year. The last referendum that won support was in 1983.

Kyle Ocker is the editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at kocker@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.

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