Almost 80% of voters approved a request last week for $50 million of general obligation bonds by the Farmington Municipal School District No. 5.

The winning margin was 1,742 in favor and 463 opposed. Turnout was 7.6% of registered voters in the northwestern New Mexico district, more than twice the participation level of earlier bond elections.

The district will use proceeds to build a new middle school and fund improvements at various facilities. The work is expected to be completed within three years.

Officials said they would seek $20 million from the state’s Public School Capital Outlay Council as a match for the district’s contribution of $14 million of bond proceeds for the new school, which is expected to cost $34 million.

The council has approved the school construction project and provided funding for architectural services, but would not commit to additional funding until voters decided on the bond package.

The district has received $22 million from the state since 1995 as a match for local bonds proceeds.

D’rese Sutherland, assistant district superintendent for finance, said the bonds would be sold in tranches of $9 million to $10 million.

The district’s $39.5 million of outstanding GO debt is rated Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service.

Support of the new bonds will not require an increase in the district’s property tax rate of $7.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

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