As voters gear up to go to the polls on April 3, Southwest R-5 School District patrons will have the opportunity to decide a $1.5 million bond issue, Proposition Safety, to finance construction of a new music room and other school safety improvements.
The music room construction is planned for the high school while the elementary and middle school areas will see new offices which will promote security at those locations.
"Our district has historically been a smaller district, and as enrollment has increased, additions have been made to accommodate the umber of kids and classes needed," said Bob Walker, Southwest superintendent. "The number of entrance points we have and the level and ability to monitor security is a challenge."
Walker said the elementary school office needs to be located at the main entrance to the school, and plans call for a shared office area between the elementary and middle school principals and secretaries. The plan calls for construction of those offices between the elementary and middle school buildings, east of the kindergarten through eighth grade cafeteria. The area will also provide a central location for the school nurse.
This portion of the construction will include a corridor connecting the middle school with the cafeteria, thus allowing students a safe and sheltered route to go to lunch and drama classes.
"This will keep the kids inside and out of the weather and provide a level of protection," Walker said.
The new high school music room addition would be constructed at the east end of the high school and will serve the high school band and choir students. It will feature smaller practice rooms and add approximately 4,000 square feet to the facility.
In addition to the construction work, Proposition Safety will provide funding to finish equipping the district's school bus fleet with cameras and add security cameras at all entrances to the campus.
Proposition Safety is not expected to increase the district's debt service tax levy.
"We feel we can access $1.5 million without raising the levy, which is important to our board," Walker said. "If it was going to increase the debt service, I don't think we would be pursuing this bond issue."
The district has hired Richard Werner of Werner and Associates to serve as architect on the project. Springfield Builders Incorporated will serve as construction manager.
The issue will appear on the April 3 ballot.