Voters in the Hartshorne school district are being asked to approve a $1 million bond issue during the Tuesday election to help finance an Events Center which would serve as a gymnasium, auditorium and storm shelter.

The Hartshorne school election is one of three elections on the ballot in Pittsburg County on Tuesday.

Also on the special election ballot is a proposed three-quarter cent Pittsburg County sales tax for expansion and renovation of the Pittsburg County Jail, expansion and renovation of the Pittsburg County Courthouse and for a countywide animal shelter.

In addition, voters in the city of McAlester are being asked to approve five proposed changes to the City Charter.

All regular polling places will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. for the Tuesday special election.

Meanwhile, early in-person absentee ballot voting continues until 6 p.m. today in the Pittsburg County Election Board office on the first floor of the county courthouse.

“We had 90 votes on Friday,” Assistant Election Board Secretary Cathy Zukosky said of the first day of absentee voting. Another five votes had been cast early today.

The Friday turnout had been higher than expected, said Pittsburg County Election Board Secretary Carolyn Morris.

“I thought it was a decent turnout on Friday,” she said. “I think we’ll have a good turnout on Tuesday.”

If the bond issue passes in the Hartshorne school district, money would be used to help construct a new Hartshorne Events Center. Cost of the project is estimated to be $1.75 million, but the additional $750,000 will come from grants, donations and local funds, said Hartshorne School Superintendent Jim Barnes.

Plans call for the Events Center to include an air-conditioned auditorium and a gymnasium which could be used for graduation ceremonies.

It would also include an emergency management public shelter or safe room, which could hold 1,000 people in case of a tornado or other disaster, according to Barnes.

In addition, the center would include a multi-purpose lobby and room with public access for meetings.

The building would also include an indoor walking track, a new band room, a room for cheerleaders and a facility for girls’ athletics.

The increase would begin on the 2006 ad valorem taxes, according to Barnes.

A property owner in the Hartshorne School District currently paying $25 in ad valorem taxes would see their taxes rise to $27.47 the first year, which would be a $2.47 increase, according to Barnes.

Those paying $50 would see the tax rise to $54.94 during the first year, an increase of $4.94.

If a property owner in the Hartshorne School District has current ad valorem taxes of $100, the first year’s tax impact would raise the amount to $109.88, for an annual increase of $9.88, according to information from Hartshorne Public Schools.

Those currently paying $200 would see their taxes rise to $219.75, for a $19.75 increase, while those with $300 in ad valorem taxes would see theirs rise to $329.63, an increase of $29.63, to cite a few examples.

In addition to the Pittsburg County precincts in the Hartshorne school district, Latimer County voters who reside in the district will also be eligible to vote in the election.

Those are Precinct 5 at the Gowen Community Center and Precinct 6, which is the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Southeast Community Center east of Hartshorne off State Highway 1.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.