Independence School District Superintendent Dale Herl was happy to see the bond issue pass in April.
Not only could the district make some needed updates to each of the three high schools, but it could also address the district's growing student population, which is up again this year.
Herl said that the number of students in the district has grown by nearly 200.
"The No. 1 thing is it will eliminate all mobile trailers in the school district, and I'm so excited about that," Herl said. "We continue to grow as a school district. We're up almost 200 (students) again this year, and so this will address the issues we've had with our growth the last several years.
"... It's a very exciting time. I'd much rather be trying to figure out how to find classroom space or build classroom space than closing down a school. It's a wonderful problem to have."
Following the passage of the no-tax-increase $38 million bond issue by an overwhelming 85 percent, work on the additions at William Chrisman, Truman and Van Horn high schools has gotten underway and site work began this week on the site of the new elementary school in southwestern Independence.
Herl said the recent rainy weather, though, has put construction crews behind.
"We're a little bit behind, about two weeks," he said. "Obviously the rain has put a hamper on some of the projects. Now we have all of the footings poured and we're starting to go vertical with steel and block walls at all three of the high schools.
"... We think we'll be able to catch up."
All three high schools are getting additional classrooms for career academy classes, and Van Horn will get a new main gymnasium, a mezzanine and an addition that will house the new home of the culinary capstone classes. Truman is also getting an addition to its lunchroom and a revamped main entrance, and William Chrisman will also get a new weight room on the lower level of the classroom addition.
Herl said that the remodeled training rooms at Truman and Chrisman have already been completed and are just waiting for furniture that has been ordered and some finishing touches.
Herl said that the Truman project is expected to be finished first. He said they hope to turn over the classroom addition and lunchroom addition to the school by February. He said the classroom and weight room at Chrisman should be done by March. Van Horn, which is the largest project among the high schools, is expected to be done, he hopes, sometime after Christmas of 2018.
"The priority right now with the high schools is to get the exteriors buttoned up so that we can start the interior finishes," Herl said.
The goal to complete the elementary school remains the summer of 2019, with the first school year there being 2019-20. Prep and site work at the site of the former Cassell Park at 31st Street and Hardy Avenue began this week, and Herl said the goal is to begin masonry work on the actual building before winter arrives.
Herl said the construction work caused a temporary parking issue at Van Horn, but a temporary parking lot at the high school has just been completed where the old "E Building" stood to alleviate that problem while construction continues on the new gymnasium.
Herl said that while the parking space at Truman was not affected by the construction, the traffic flow has been an issue with the drives on the north and south ends of the school blocked.
"We've really had no inconveniences that we haven't been able to tackle," Herl said.