Sanford residents have a fantastic opportunity to get a brand new, state-of-the-art high school and technical center, and they shouldn’t let it pass them by.

After spending years on the state’s school construction program list, it’s finally Sanford’s turn. It would be a travesty ”“ yes, a travesty ”“ if voters turned down the $92 million the state has pledged toward the project. In a referendum vote set for Jan. 13 voters will be asked to accept that money and commit about $7.9 million in local funds to make this project a reality.

There will also be a second question that asks voters to authorize an additional $2.7 million in supplemental improvements ”“ beyond what the state guidelines allow ”“ like additional bleachers and parking, turf upgrades and dehumidification. These upgrades are optional, and if voted down, would not effect the approval of the new school and technical center’s construction.

It’s a great opportunity to make the additional upgrades, too. Since the school district will be building from the ground up, it would certainly be easier ”“ and possibly cheaper ”“ to do the work all at once.

Even with the additional $2.7 million, property taxes are not projected to increase. With approval of the construction project outlined in question one, a taxpayer with a home valued at $160,000 is projected to save about $22 annually in property taxes.

This a great deal for Sanford, and in addition to not increasing local property taxes, the new school and tech center will add value to the city ”“ both in monetary value and in its image. A major factor in families’ decisions to relocate is school quality. A brand new high school that offers technical programs as well will be a boon to the area as families grow and look to southern Maine to build their lives.

Nearby communities have had to spend tens of millions of dollars to get renovations in recent years. Biddeford High School got a $34 million overhaul to make upgrades, while Wells High School is in the midst of a $27 million renovation ”“ both were also needed to keep the schools in good standing with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, which accredits Maine’s schools.

NEASC takes a school building’s age and quality into consideration when accrediting schools. The association has had Sanford High School on “monitor” status due to its aging building, too.

With all of the arguments for why a new school is needed, voters should not need to be persuaded, since the state is footing the vast majority of the bill. With this proposal, all roads lead to yes.

— Robyn Burnham Rousseau is the city editor in the Journal Tribune newsroom.