Vision 150 project to renovate vintage wing

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Cassville school district hopes for voters’ approval in April

Proposition Vision 150 is a ballot measure to go to vote on April 2 that will allow the district to use bond funds to complete capital projects focused on early childhood, elementary students, safety and maintenance of the facility.

Vision 150 is a $4 million no-tax-increase bond issue and will require a 4/7ths majority, or 57.14 percent, to pass.

A bond issue allows for the school district to borrow a specific amount of funds and establish a tax rate to pay debt back over time.

A no-tax-increase bond issue reflects a conservative approach to utilizing taxpayer dollars to maintain an overall low total tax levy.

The current school tax levy will remain unchanged, however, reassessment, new personal property or newly added property could affect a tax bill.

Richard Asbill, Cassville superintendent, said if the ballot is passed, the first project will be the early childhood programs, then, efforts to renovate the “vintage wing” or old middle school classrooms will begin.

“The vintage wing was often referred to as the old middle school, and it was relabeled when we had to use it for the fifth-grade classrooms when the intermediate building flooded,” he said. “The teachers started referring to it as the vintage wing.”

Asbill said the name stuck, and it is a vintage building that was built in the 1930s.

“This building at one point has had several different classes, grade levels and programs as it was used,” he said. “The vintage wing has had some renovations back in the 60s and 70s, but overall, the building needs some electrical upgrades.”

Asbill said there are only three outlets in each room, two originally, and the windows were replaced from the original single-pane windows in the late 70s.

“The outside exterior of the building is brick and mortar,” he said. “In the late 90s and early 2000s there was some maintenance work done to the mortar, and the brick is aging significantly, so we will have to do work on the exterior, as well.”

Asbill said the vintage wing and the rock gym are the oldest, original portions of the district still remaining in place.

“With the exterior work, we have a plan to install a brick veneer that will add some insulation,” he said. “Our goal is to keep its historical look with the brick and not separate that.”

According to Asbill, the windows will look very similar to the energy-efficient windows that went in the J.C. Duncan gymnasium.

“Currently in the vintage wing, three of the rooms are used for storage, there is some storage for the J.C. Duncan gymnasium, and we also have our Bright Futures store in there,” he said. “We intend to move some of the existing walls and install flexible partitions, this was the spaces can be opened up into large learning spaces or divided up into two or even three separate spaces.”

Asbill said that will offer more functionality to the rooms that are there.

“One of the goals is to also creating a changing room there for the J.C. Duncan gymnasium,” he said. “There are bathrooms available in the gymnasium, but there isn’t a place for students to change. So the plan is to take parts of two rooms to make changing rooms.”

Asbill said this project is important because the vintage wing is an intricate part of the district’s history.

“We learned how valuable that classroom space is, and was, when the intermediate building sustained its water damage,” he said. “We believe that the oldest parts of our district can be renovated and be saved for the next generations. Also, we can utilize some of our most advanced and flexible spaces moving forward.”

Asbill said this will help with implementing new programs, as well as for the existing programs.

“We are excited about that,” he said. “We believe in using what we have and our board is very committed to looking at the fact that it is usable classroom space, that just needs to be renovated.

“With the right dedication and improvements, the vintage wing will be a functional space for our students and our teachers.”

Asbill said this second project will begin as soon as it can be gauged how fast the district can move into this project based on the construction bids.

“It will have to be determined if the company we go with will have the workforce to be able to approach both projects, the early childhood and vintage wing, at the same time,” he said. “We may have to stage that to where they start on one and they can ship some manpower over to the other.”

Asbill said additionally, the district does not want to displace so many students at once.

“We want to be able to use those spaces that are being used now,” he said. “The concept is to allow a time buffer to move people around and have the space to do that.”

Asbill said he expects the second project to take 10-12 months, because even though it is a renovation, the amount of work is similar to new construction.

For more information about the Vision 150 no-tax-increase issue, people may call Richard Asbill at 417-847-2221.

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