School proposal would eliminate overcrowding

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Crowded conditions and the likelihood of continuing growth have led the Cassville R-IV School Board and administration to go to patrons for funding for a new school building.

Cassville's Facilities Advisory Committee has spent hours surveying district patrons and reviewing options. With the information gathered by the committee, the board has decided to pursue construction of a new intermediate school on Main Street, north of the Rock Gym.

In addition a multi-level building will provide a new, less-crowded learning environment for students in fourth and fifth grades while allowing other grades to utilize additional space in the existing buildings. Pending approval from FEMA, an additional grant will allow the lower level of the building to be constructed as an approved community tornado shelter able to withstand 200-mile-per-hour winds.

Cassville Intermediate Principal Jill LeCompte is excited about the prospect of a new building for her intermediate students.

"I work in the very building where I attended school," said LeCompte. "It has been fun to see my own children here. I just love this building, but we've outgrown it. We have more than doubled the number of students than were here back in our day."

Cassville Schools has had no building additions since the early 1980s. The school has not added a new building since the high school in 1995. Meanwhile, the district has rented property and leased trailers to accommodate the influx in students.

"We have nowhere for extra classes or even for parent volunteers to work," said LeCompte. "Teacher's aides have nowhere to work with students except in the hallways or cafeteria. I am thrilled about all the learning that could occur if we had some room."

The proposed building site is currently occupied by the district's "White House," which is utilized by the district's Parents as Teachers Program. Removal of that building and addition of the new facility will allow all temporary structures to be removed from the campus and the rented property will no longer be needed.

"We have classrooms that are in trailers, and it is cold," said Brittany Garland, Cassville fourth grader. "We need more space. In the morning, it is really hard to get through the hallways. We also need more bathrooms."

Chase Cantwell, another fourth grade student, said, "Every time I get a drink, the line is humongous. We need more water fountains."

Trevor McClintock, a fifth grader added, "I think a new school would be a very good idea. One reason would be because we would be less crowded and another reason would be that we would have lots more room for extra classrooms for new teachers. The preschool could get moved over here."

The debt from building the new high school, approved by voters in 1993, is nearly paid. A "yes" vote on Propositions 1 and 2 for a new intermediate school, would produce no tax increase but will extend current tax rates.

Staff is encouraged about the possibilities of having a new school. Wendy Miekley, long-time teacher with Cassville Schools, definitely supports the school proposal.

"It is time to do what is best for the children," said Miekley. "When does YES+YES equal NO+NO? On April 4, when Cassville R-IV patrons have the opportunity to provide a new facility for students. YES on Propositions 1 and 2 and YES for our students equal NO new taxes and NO more overcrowding."

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