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Iowa Lakes Referendum To Voters in February

November 17, 2015
Emmetsburg News

To the Editor:

Following action by the Iowa Lakes Community College Board of Trustees on October 20, 2015, a proposed bond referendum will be placed in front of voters in this region on February 2, 2016. The Your Community, Your College, Your Facilities referendum would upgrade facilities on each of the five campuses.

While the majority of community colleges in the state have secured bond funding from referendums, Iowa Lakes has never asked for a bond referendum in its rich 50-year history.

If the Bond Referendum passes, the Trustees would make the following improvements to campuses:

At the Algona Campus, renovation to an existing space will create a new student center. In addition, entrepreneurial program classrooms and an office will be built. A water drainage solution will solve past water issues at the campus.

At the Emmetsburg Campus, a new main entrance will be built that will include a climate friendly approach housing all student service programming in a one-stop area. Remodeling the vacated space will transpire along with an upgraded dining/student commons area. To slow surface drainage and prevent future water damage to the Emmetsburg Campus, a water retention solution will be constructed.

A fine arts addition is proposed for the Estherville Campus that will house a 400-seat theater for the instrumental and vocal music programs. In addition, the space has multiple purposes for other programs, classes and activities.

The Spencer Campus was purchased by Iowa Lakes in 2005 and needed a new roof at that time. Since then, numerous classroom renovations and upgrades have occurred, yet the roof has not been replaced. In addition, the exterior of the building will be upgraded to improve roof drainage as well as the appearance of the overall structure.

Finally, the Spirit Lake Campus will see renovations of existing space that will allow for short-term credit and non-credit industrial training in areas like welding, construction, SCADA systems and precision agriculture.

All campuses will be fitted with keyless entry locks for enhanced security purposes.

The bond referendum would raise $16 million and would sunset in 15 years. Funds raised through this one-time levy would allow Iowa Lakes to respond to the changing needs in your community. On a house valued at $100,000, the assessment is $11.70 annually and would be shared by property tax owners in Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Palo Alto, Kossuth, and portions of eight adjoining counties.

The ballot requires a 60% overall majority for passage. An informal survey conducted of residents in this area indicated 65% of area residents were "very likely or likely" to support a bond initiative, and an additional 12 % were somewhat likely.

Iowa Lakes Community College is a key partner in economic development in this region. Every community benefits from the high-skilled, high-tech graduates of our programs in a variety of areas including nursing, office associates, police officers, EMTs, electricians, heating/ventilation/air con- ditioning, environmental, agriculture, aviators, accountants, wind turbine technicians, automotive technicians, and many more too numerous to mention.

I appreciate the support the residents of this area have provided Iowa Lakes Community College for the past 50 years and we look forward to the next 50! Please remember to mark your calendars and vote on February 2, 2016, or by absentee ballots starting in January.

We would be happy to provide information to your service organization or civic group on more details for these proposed projects. You can make that request by calling Cindy Oviatt at 712-362-0434 or by emailing her at

Please refer to our website for more detailed information on the Your Community, Your College, Your Facilities referendum at


(signed) Valerie Newhouse


Iowa Lakes Community College

Estherville, IA



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