Despite the cold weather and what Cleveland County Election Board Secretary Paula Roberts described as a “very low” turnout, Moore voters approved their fifth school bond issue in seven years by a three-to-one margin Tuesday.

With all of Moore’s 53 precincts counted, Roberts said 1,897 votes were cast in favor of the $21.8 million school bond proposal while 676 voters voted ‘no.’

“Countywide, the turnout was real low,” she said. “But I believe some of that was due to the cold weather. Still, it’s disappointing to see such low numbers.”

About 75,000 voters are eligible to vote in Cleveland County.

Yet, even with that low turnout, Moore’s superintendent of schools, Deborah Arato, said she was elated by the results. “We’re very proud,” Arato said Tuesday evening. “It’s a great sign of how much support our community shows for our schools.”

The latest bond issue follows an earlier proposal sent to voters in 2005. District voters also passed bond issues in 2000, 2001 and 2004.

Money raised from bond’s sale will be used for building construction and to “repair, remodel and equip” numerous facilities in the 159-mile district. “These funds will help us be prepared for future elementary growth and help pay for renovations at Moore High School and Westmoore High School,” she said.

Currently Moore’s student population stands at 20,500, making it the state’s third largest public school district.

“When you bring more students into the mix, it creates more need,” Arato said earlier this year. “Our growth is really aggressive right now. We were pretty tight on space to begin with; it’s been like that all year.”

Under the proposal, the district would issue two series of bonds.

The first series, totaling $16.1 million, would be sold in March 2007, with the second set — $5.7 million — following about six months later.

The funds would be earmarked for specific projects, including:

• $5.75 million for remodeling and renovating the cafeteria and commons area of Moore High School.

• $2.3 million for security cameras at each school site.

• $4.2 million for additional classroom space and renovations at Fisher, Kelley and Bryant elementary schools.

• $400,000 for new concession and restroom facilities at Moore stadium, located at Moore High School.

• $2.2 million for construction of a new field house, locker rooms, weight rooms and office space at Moore stadium.

• $600,000 for improvements to Westmoore’s indoor baseball and softball facilities.

• $300,000 for new lighting and bleachers at the Westmoore practice field.

• $200,000 for band instruments and materials for Moore and Westmoore high schools.

• $580,000 for the purchase, repair and installation of lighting fixtures throughout the district.

• $500,000 for restroom renovation at Highland West Junior High school.

• $400,000 for a new heating and air-conditioning unit at Houchin Elementary.

• $400,000 for the construction and equipment of a new warehouse freezer space for the district’s child nutrition program.

• $950,000 for new educational materials and equipment for the district.

• $2.1 million for computer and computer-related equipment and software for the district.

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