Voters approve high school bond issue

Work is expected to begin next year on a new Grand Junction High School after Mesa County voters approved a measure to fund the project.

Voters also elected three new members of the Mesa County School District 51 Board of Education whose responsibilities will include overseeing construction of the new high school.

Voters approved by a nearly 2-to-1 margin a measure allowing the school district to increase its debt to $115 million to replace the 65-year-old Grand Junction  High School. The project is expected to cost about $145 million.

District 51 announced in a news release construction on a three-story high school is scheduled to begin in 2022 on the school property on Fifth Street and conclude by the end of 2024. 

The new high school will be built with piles anchoring the foundation to shale to prevent the maintenance issues that occurred with the existing school. The new building also will feature only one main public entrance to improve security. An existing gymnasium and art building on the property will remain.

Students and staff will remain in the existing high school while the new building is constructed. 

Voters also elected three new members to the school board.

Andrea Haitz defeated Trish Mahre and Austin DeWitt in District C. Willie Jones defeated Nick Allan in District D. Angela Lema defeated David Combs in District E.

Three Mesa County measures on the November election ballot were approved.

Voters approved a measure allowing marijuana cultivation, manufacturing and testing facilities in unincorporated areas of the county.

Another measure imposing a 5 percent tax on the sale of processed marijuana at a retail marijuana cultivation facility was approved. 

The tax is expected to generate more than $750,000 a year, money earmarked to fund substance abuse and mental health services.

A third measure enables Mesa County to provide telecommunication services.

Voters in Mesa County joined those elsewhere in Colorado in rejecting three statewide measures.

One measure would have increased the tax on retail marijuana sales to fund tutoring and after-school learning programs.

Another measure would have lowered property tax assessment rates.

A third measure would have amended the Colorado Constitution to allow the State Legislature to determine how to disburse so-called custodial money, such as settlements from lawsuits or aid from Congress.