WEST DES MOINES — Hy-Vee has pledged a half-million dollars toward improvements at Indian Hills Community College, provided voters in the region approve a bond referendum.

The grocery chain announced the pledge of $500,000 on Monday. Voters in the college's 10-county region and some surrounding areas are voting Tuesday on a $28 million referendum funded by a small tax increase.

In all, the college has raised over $6 million toward the $34 million project that'll build an entirely new campus in Centerville and make improvements to the one in Ottumwa. The college sought private donations to lower the property tax burden.

Hy-Vee is one of southeast Iowa's largest employers and says they wanted to support the project because many of its employees will utilize the college's services.

The company has utilized the college's commercial driver's license training program, as well as leadership and language courses for its employees.

For most residential taxpayers, the referendum would raise 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 issue will require 60% support to pass. The last referendum that won support was in 1983.

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