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updated: 11/2/2010 10:35 PM

District 33 voters approve $39 million project

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Sixth-graders in West Chicago Elementary District 33 will be attending classes at the middle school by as early as 2013.

Voters on Tuesday narrowly approved a measure to build an addition at West Chicago Middle School, 238 E. Hazel St., to house the students, according to unofficial totals.

With all 26 precincts reporting, roughly 51 percent of voters supported the plan to borrow $39 million to construct the addition and make limited renovations at some elementary buildings.

The margin of victory was a mere 113 votes - 3,414 to 3,301.

Voters turned down a $49 million bond issue request for a similar project in April 2009. Since then, the cost of borrowing, building materials and construction has fallen due to tough economic times, officials said.

The project will extend the district's existing property tax rate for two decades. Without the new loan, the owner of a $200,000 house would have seen their tax bills drop roughly $140 a year starting with the May 2011 bill.

District 33 officials say the project is a cost-effective solution to programming desires and enrollment needs.

District enrollment has been rising for 20 years.