NEWTON, Kan. (KAKE) - The Newton School District is hosting two town halls this week to give the public the chance to learn more about a proposed bond.

The $8.4 million bond would repair Linley Hall, the gymnasium at the Santa Fe 5/6 Center that was heavily damaged by storms in June 2021.

The bond would renovate the current gym floor instead of replacing it. The building will also receive upgrades instead of the building being completely torn down.

Carly Stavola, Newton Public Schools director of communications, said the bond will preserve the existing building so it's prepared to take on the next 40 to 50 years of use.

"It's really difficult to build school culture when you can't have all of your student population and staff in one location at the same time and those kids at Santa Fe 5/6 Center haven't had a chance to do that in over a year now and they won't for over a year," Stavola said. "If this bond passes, we could quicker get them back into a gym, but if it fails, then we're kind of back to the drawing board."

The district is hosting two town halls to give the public the opportunity to get any questions they may have about the bond answered before voting on it in the General Election November 8.

The previous two bonds in the district, one in 2017 and the other in 2019, both failed with many community members stating they want the district to "take care of what you have."

These people will be at the town halls for questioning: 

  • Santa Fe/Lindley Hall: DLR/Gravity Works
  • McCownGordon Construction
  • Stifel Investment Services
  • USD 373 Board of Education
  • Superintendent Fred Van Ranken

The town halls are Wednesday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at McKinley Administrative Center, 308 E. 1st Street.