ZEPHYR — Zephyr Superintendent David Whisenhunt said Tuesday’s election was “an exciting day” for the school system after district voters approved a $4.35 million bond issue.

“But now, the work really begins,” Whisenhunt added.

The approval by a 3-to-1 margin “is a tribute to the hard work of many people,” the superintendent said. Noting that school officials are restricted by state law from doing anything but offering information about such proposals, Whisenhunt said a group of private citizens needs to be applauded for their efforts.

The bond package was approved on a 134-41 vote, or 76.57 percent in favor and 23.43 percent against.

“We had a strong core in the community in favor of this,” Whisenhunt said. “I’ve called many of those people (Tuesday night) who worked so hard in support of the bond election. They visited many of the school campuses in this area to see what they had. They telephoned voters. They worked so hard that sometimes they found themselves calling each other.”

He said the decisive margin indicates that people believe the improvements proposed by the school board are needed.

“The vote says this is a project that really needs to happen,” Whisenhunt said. “We don’t know about the state funding, but we’re not going to go forward with anything until we do.”

The district could find out in June 2008 if it qualifies for an Instructional Facilities Allotment grant which would bring the school about $1.4 million. Then three months later, it would know if the state will continue to fund the Existing Debt Allotment grant, worth about a third of the total debt.

“Whenever you try to do something for these young people and their education, and to give them modern, technological facilities, that’s what it’s all about,” Whisenhunt said.

The bond package is divided into four phases, Whisenhunt said, with construction of the third and fourth phases dependent on availability of funds following completion of the first two.

Phase One would build a new football field and track, and Phase Two involves construction of a new wastewater treatment plant and water displacement plant. Those facilities would be built on the site of the current football field after the new sports facility is completed.

The third phase would build a new physical education complex with a gym, staff offices, classrooms and technology labs. In the plans are lighted tennis courts, lighted outdoor basketball courts and a new children’s playground that would also be available for community fitness and family outdoor recreation.

The fourth phase would build a new cafetorium featuring cafeteria facilities and an auditorium with a stage where one-act plays, school events like graduation and community functions could be held.