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Residents OK new stadium, renovations

Supporting a new football stadium and renovations to Tonawanda City School District buildings, residents overwhelmingly approved an $11.9 million capital improvement project by a 3-1 ratio during a special vote Tuesday.

The vote was 1,151 to 370.

Nearly 90 percent of the project's expense is being picked up by the state, so the local cost will be $549,365.

The district anticipates bonding the cost over a 15-year period, so it would cost about an additional $4.67 a year on a home assessed at $80,000.

"I'm so happy for the children of this community who are going to benefit from music rooms, technology rooms, art rooms and a great stadium for our athletes," said School Board President Sharon Stuart. "It's a great day to be a Tonawandan."

"This was a vote of direction for the community and the district," said Superintendent Whitney Vantine. "The board wanted to make sure the community had an opportunity to vote. They have been given that opportunity, and the results are gratifying and overwhelming."

The project calls for a redesigned athletic campus at Tonawanda High/Middle School that includes rebuilding Clint Small Stadium, currently on Main Street. A new track, softball field and practice field are also planned for the campus.

Other exterior improvements include a new bus loop, a more eye-catching entrance to the school and a plaza near the stadium that will include a ticket booth, a concession stand and a memorial to Clint Small, a former football coach and administrator in the city.

Inside the high school, the district will renovate several areas and create an upgraded art and music wing, as well as new locker and exercise rooms.

The project will also put new roofs on the Mullen and Riverview elementary buildings, and make other improvements to those buildings.

Vantine said the district will work with architects and officials from the state Education Department to finalize the details on the project over the next few months. District officials hope that the new Clint Small Stadium will be ready for play by the 2013 football season.

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