R-IV board considers campus expansion plan

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Proposed plan would handle district's short-term needs without tax increase; building costs projected at $7 million

By Lisa Schlichtman

The Cassville R-IV School Board is seriously considering a building plan that will keep new classroom space on existing campuses and cost district patrons no additional taxes.

The $7 million proposal was introduced to members of the Facilities Advisory Committee who attended a Dec. 15 school board meeting.

Superintendent Jim Orrell presented the board's proposed plan by pointing out that the district's enrollment over the past 20 years had grown by 50 percent while its student attendance area had increased by only 33 percent during that time.

"We've gained more students than we've kept up in new construction," said Orrell. The last time the district underwent a building project was in 1996 when the new high school was constructed.

"Our need (for more space) is immediate."

Although no formal action has been taken, the board is considering a plan that would add classrooms to the existing high school and also build a separate multi-level building to house two or three grade levels. This facility would be built just north of the rock gym where the district's "White House" now sits. This older home currently houses Cassville's Parents As Teachers program.

The district is also pursuing a FEMA grant that would help fund construction of a tornado shelter in the basement of the new building.

"We don't have a shelter anywhere in the city of Cassville," said Orrell. "Especially a shelter that could hold hundreds of students and teachers."

Gary Barbee, with Sam Winn and Associates architects of Springfield, has presented the school board with preliminary plans for a 41,000-square-foot multi-level building that would be large enough to serve fourth and fifth grade students. He has also designed the facility to be expanded so it could serve third grade students as well.

The building would also contain a nurse's office, a kitchen, a cafeteria, a library, an office and storage.

Expansions planned at the high school would include adding four new classrooms and constructing a self-contained building for the vo-ag and industrial technology programs.

"This plan would give us seven or more classrooms that we don't currently have," Orrell said.

"This is a short-term solution that could take us five to 10 years down the road," Orrell said.

The district intends to keep the property it owns on Highway 248 for future building needs. If the district continues to grow as anticipated, the board could consider building a new high school on that property in 15 to 20 years, Orrell said.

Based on preliminary cost figures, the $7 million bond issue would require no tax increase for district patrons.

In other business, the school board:

Heard patron concerns regarding a boundary issue. Bruce and Joyce Holt addressed the board about a boundary change that would force their children to attend Exeter rather than the Cassville School District. The Holts asked for the board's help in finding a solution that would allow their children to remain students at Cassville.

Accepted the resignation of Linda Rodriguez, high school Spanish teacher.

Voted to employ the following substitute teachers: Erisa Hines, Audy Padilla, Christine Shepherd, Chris Slinkard and Aaron Weatherford.

Voted to advertise for bids on two new school buses.

Approved the submission of a FEMA grant and approval of local matching funds if the grant were approved.

Voted to extend Orrell's contract as superintendent through the 2007-08 school year.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: