Community members in Independence are the ones who said they wanted the chance to vote on a bond issue for Independence schools.

Community members in Independence are the ones who said they wanted the chance to vote on a bond issue for Independence schools.

And it was the community that overwhelmingly approved the $85 million bond issue on Nov. 3.

So it is the priority of the Independence School District to keep those same community members informed as to what is going on with the bond issue since they are the ones that have been behind it from the beginning.

“Those in the community paved the way for these improvements by voting to pass the bond issue,” said Superintendent Jim Hinson. “They deserve to see that progress is being made.”

Meetings have started with architects and designs are being created for renovations at almost all facilities in the Independence district.

Projects include classroom additions at Luff, Thomas Hart Benton and Mill Creek elementary schools; an athletic stadium for the middle schools; front office and a main entry remodel, a new air-conditioning and heating system and Van Horn and a new track and renovated science rooms at William Chrisman, along others.

But in order to keep the community involved as to what is going on, videos will be posted to the school district’s Web site, www.ourindependenceschools.org, to give the community an opportunity to see what is happening for themselves.

The first video shows Truman band director Todd Reinhardt giving his opinion as to what a new band room should look like.

“One of the promises we made to the community was that we would keep them up to date every step of the way,” Hinson said. “The videos are an excellent tool for making sure the community is in the loop.”

A portion of the bond issue will be in the form of interest free bonds through the federal stimulus package. In addition, a 15-cent tax increase per $100 of assessed valuation was included.

According the district, for a $100,000 home, this would mean an additional $28.56 annually, and for those with a $200,000 home, it would be an additional $57.12 each year.

“We are in the process of developing timelines and completion projections for each of our projects,” said Bob Robinson, director of facilities for the Independence School District of the planning and design process.

“You can now see preliminary drawings posted in each of the school buildings where additions and revisions are being completed.”

Hinson said new videos will be posted periodically, showing a different aspect of the design process and eventually of the renovations.

He said construction on some of the athletic facilities, such as the sports fields at Van Horn, Truman and William Chrisman, could be begin within the next few months. However, work on the schools will wait until classes are out for the summer.

“The videos will be posted on the Web site and sent out to ISD Update subscribers as new chapters unfold. Anytime a major step is made toward construction, or during construction, the district will use the videos to keep the public informed,” Hinson said.

“It (public input) is important that planning is a group effort. Those who are using the areas on a daily basis know what their needs are more than architects ever could, so it is important to get feedback on future construction projects.”

For more information on the bond projects or to view the videos, visit the district’s Web site at www.ourindependenceschools.org.