After two nights of emotionally charged debate, Tisbury voters approved a $46.6 million plan to build a new town elementary school by a wide margin Wednesday.

The vote was 319 to 99. The question still needs approval in the ballot box in two weeks when voters will be asked to exclude the debt from the Proposition 2 1/2 state tax cap.

But on Wednesday school administrators, teachers, planners and supporters were rejoicing in the moment.

“It's very exciting,” Vineyard schools superintendent Matthew D’Andrea said after the vote. He praised the work and dedication of the school building committee.

“I'm very pleased,” school principal John Custer said. “I've learned not to celebrate early but I'm hopeful for positive returns at the ballot. I'm very reassured and grateful.”

A single item on the 40-article annual town meeting warrant, the school question was debated for three hours over Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Wednesday moderator Deborah Medders made it clear she intended to move the meeting along. Discussion was limited to two hours, set to end at 9:30.

On both nights, long lines formed at every mic in the gym.

Chief concerns among opponents centered on the hit to the tax rate from the largest capital spending project in recent memory.

“I don’t see how we can incur a $47 million expense given our current operating expenses . . . I can’t pay this bill,” said Rachel Orr, speaking on Tuesday night.

In a long prepared speech, planning board charman Ben Robinson criticized the building committee, claiming it never fully vetted the option of renovating the old brick school that dates to 1929.

But on Wednesday night backers of the new school project appeared to turn out in force. More than 300 voters filled the gym.

“This is a town project. This is not a school project,” said Colleen McAndrews, chairman of the school building committee.

Wiet Bacheller, a longtime town resident and retired teacher, compared the decision to the one made by the town in 1929 when the existing brick school was built.

“Tonight we are faced with having to make a similar decision,” she said, drawing applause.

John Sundman, whose three children attended the school, pointed to future generations.

“The world that they're going to be inheriting is really different from the world we grew up in,” he said.

Rick Brew called the decision a middle ground. “This is a compromise choice,” he said, announcing that he would vote yes.

The standing vote came just before 9:45 p.m.

Voters then turned to other articles before the moderator called a recess just after 11 p.m.

The town meeting convene agains Thursday night at 7 p.m., with more than 30 articles left on the warrant.