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Farmington Voters Approve High School Project

Unofficial results show tally of 4,500 to 2,195

By Ted Glanzer

Staff Writer

FARMINGTON – This time, the results flipped.

Four years ago, Farmington voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposal for a new high school by a 2-to-1 margin, 5,029 against to 2,411 in favor. On Thursday, by what appears to be another 2-to-1 margin, voters approved a plans for a new $135.6 million high school (with $109.5 million paid by town taxpayers), according to town officials. Unofficial results of three of the four polling locations in town plus absentee ballots were about 4,500 in favor and 2,195 against. Proponents of the new school said it was time for a new building following decades of patchwork renovations that created massive sprawl, leaky roofs, undersized classrooms, sections of the school – including the auditorium, gymnasium and media center - that were not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, 23 points of ingress and egress. "It's transformational," Town Council Chairman C.J. Thomas said. "There are very few moments in a town's history that will have such a significant impact as this. It will bring education in the town of Farmington into the 21st century." "It's great for the town," Matt Hutvagner, who helped spearhead the effort to pass the referendum through the group Comprehensive Farmington, said. "The voters spoke loud and clear that they were fully in support of this project." Opponents, including a group called Smart Farmington, said the current high school needs work, but not a new building. Further, there is concern other school buildings won't be attended to as a result of the expense for the new high school. Smart Farmington also filed a complaint with the State Election Enforcement Commission, arguing the town violated election law with a mailing that Smart Farmington says extended from providing neutral information into advocacy for the project. Still, the rancor over the most recent referendum didn't come close to that of the one in 2017, which some said ruptured the town and created deep, longstanding divisions among residents.

See the June 18 edition of the Valley Press for a full article on the referendum.