The Cassville School Board approved a $1.04 million lease agreement during its regularly scheduled meeting on Jan. 17. The funds will be used to cover the district's match for the FEMA tornado/safe room project, which is currently being completed on the R-4 campus.
Superintendent Richard Asbill offered information on the FEMA lease purchase finance agreement prior to a public hearing held at the start of the board meeting. The lease certificates, which have an average interest rate of 1.55 percent, will be issued through the Missouri Association of Rural Education (MARE).
"The lease purchase option provides a very good opportunity for the district to get low interest rates," said Asbill. "It is a seven-year agreement with an option for a three-year pay off.
"With education funding up and down we wanted to be prepared in the case that another need would come up during that three to seven year period," continued Asbill. "This also gives us a window to allocate funds for an additional FEMA project if we are awarded funding for an emergency shelter at the high school. We did not want to be overextended, and this funding will allow us to do both."
Asbill said that if other needs arise in the next two years, the district would have the option of paying off the lease agreement and re-prioritizing capital funds for other projects.
Last year, the R-4 District received approval for a FEMA grant that will fund a large portion of the construction costs for the project. The grant, which was originally $1,518,399, has been increased to $1,552,000 based on current construction costs. The grant requires a 25 percent match.
In November of 2012, the Cassville School Board awarded RE Smith Construction a $2,150,300 bid, which includes five alternate projects that will finish the building into a multipurpose facility. The building will be constructed where the old middle school field house was located.
The alternate projects include: the renovation of a maintenance room into a new middle school football and track locker room; acoustical treatments; duct work penetration that allows the district to place its heating and cooling system next to the building instead of on the roof of the facility; and a sealant for the precast concrete.
"Some of the additional things we are doing to the building are FEMA eligible and some are not," said Asbill. "For instance, FEMA pays for concrete floors. We are adding a rubberized all-purpose flooring system.
"We are also adding bleachers for different types of events, but those will not be used when the building is used as an emergency shelter," continued Asbill. "We are adding acoustical treatments so the facility can be used for performing arts events. We are adding a storage room at the back side of the building and a lobby."
The lobby is designed to give the main entrance of the building a softer look and provide an area for students to gather out of the rain as they are funneling into the facility during emergency events, said Asbill.
The board also approved additional bathroom facilities to accommodate students and members of the public using the facility during special events.
"We have added around $900,000 in non-FEMA items to make the structure better and more functional during the day and evening," said Asbill. "The board knew about the additional costs during the planning process."
Some districts have chose to only complete the standard FEMA emergency shelter and add to the facility over several years in order to finish the building, said Asbill.
"We felt we could afford to finish the building at the beginning," said Asbill. "It was in our original plan to make this a nicer facility. We want this to be a facility of which our community can be proud."
The district applied for a second FEMA grant last fall. If the grant is approved, the funding will be used to construct an emergency shelter either on the east or northwest side of the Cassville High School gymnasium.
"By contrast, with the grant for the high school FEMA building, we will be using no local money," said Asbill. "We simply want to get that building up, and then we will add to it later."
No public comments were made during the public hearing held regarding the lease purchase agreement.
During the meeting, after an executive session, the board voted to extend Asbill's contract through the 2014-15 school year.
Board members also voted to continue to employ the following administrators: Jill LeCompte, instructional services director; Amy Stephenson, special education director; Chris Redmon, high school principal; Coy Dalton, high school assistant principal; Terry Jamieson, middle school principal; Melanie Stringer, middle school assistant principal; Eric White, intermediate school principal; and Catherine Weaver, primary school principal.
In other business, the Cassville R-4 School Board:
* Evaluated the English language arts, fine arts, foreign language and library and media technology programs.
* Heard administrative reports.
* Received letters of resignation from Mandi Lyall and Donna Youngblood, coaching duties only, and a retirement letter from high school teacher Steve Mann.
* Approved the substitute teachers list, which included Chelsea Lanore and Pat Manley.
* Authorized bank account access and safe deposit box access for Asbill, board President John Sullivan, board member Becky Henningson and board secretary Stacey Williams.
* Approved the technology usage permission forms.
* Reviewed the 2013-14 school year calendar, MUSIC Insurance workers compensation safety policy and bank depository policy and services.