EVELETH, MN — Schools in Eveleth-Gilbert and Virginia are one step closer to joining forces.
Voters in three communities passed a referendum Tuesday by a vote to make Eveleth-Gilbert and Virginia schools one district, and build new schools in the process.
According to the Virginia Minnesota Public Schools Facebook page, ISD 706 approved the referendum with a vote of 1985-905 (68.7% yes), while ISD 2154 voted 1766-1266 (58% yes).
The referendum asked voters to approve moving the two town’s high schools into one, and build new elementary schools.
Officials KBJR 6 spoke with say the turnout at the polls was busier than expected.
The public is being asked to cover about 19% of the nearly $200 million cost.
Now that the referendum has passed, construction of a new high school in the Midway area just off Highway 53, as well as two new elementary schools will go up – one in Virginia and one in Eveleth.
The consolidation will be a three to five year process, and decisions regarding sports teams, mascots, and school colors will also begin.