The Grain Valley Board of Education placed a $4.6 million bond issue on Tuesday's ballot. It is the only issue being voted on in Eastern Jackson County that day. The issue would not increase taxes and needs 66.66-percent of the vote to be approved.
The Grain Valley High School graduating class of 2004 was the first in school history to top 100 students. Eight years later, the class of 2012 graduated with 203 students.
The doubling of the senior class in less than a decade demonstrates the massive growth in the Grain Valley School District. It also shows the need to expand the high school to deal with that increasing student population.
To deal with that growth, the Grain Valley Board of Education placed a $4.6 million bond issue on Tuesday's ballot. It is the only issue being voted on in Eastern Jackson County that day. The issue would not increase taxes and needs 66.66-percent of the vote to be approved.
“We currently have classes running in the mid to high 200s at the high school,” said Superintendent Roy Moss. “All of our cohorts from the seventh grade down are 300-plus students. We are currently at capacity at the current high school, so by adding the five additional classrooms that this bond issue would allow us to do, it would be the first of phases needed to begin resolving some of the issues.”
If approved, the bond issue would fund the first phase of the high school’s master plan. This would largely affect the southeast corner of the current building. The additions include five new science classrooms, an additional set of student restrooms and collaborative learning spaces for students and staff. The new classrooms would be larger than spaces for regular classrooms and would be geared for those courses that need extra space such as science, art, engineering and Family and Consumer Science.
Other improvements that would be funded through the bond issue include rerouting the road around the new addition and installing a traffic signal at the entrance of Grain Valley High School along Eagles Parkway.
“We are in need of improvements and expansion at the high school. The community has been very supportive of allowing us to keep up with the growth in the elementary schools and middle schools, but we currently have 950 students in our high school,” Moss said. “The larger classes that were impacting the elementary schools and middle schools are beginning to flow into the over-crowded high school. Within five years we expect to have 1,250 students in the high school and will need additional classroom space, student activity space and additional parking.”
If funding allows, the district has plans for other projects. This includes road access east to Garden Street from the high school, which would cross a piece of property the school district already owns. This would allow for extra parking in the future. A greenhouse is also planned as well as a new concession and restroom facility, improved waste management system, an expanded pedestrian plaza and a new ticket booth/stadium entry at the football stadium.
Page 2 of 2 - The 2013 bond issue is only the first phase of the high school’s master plan, which when completed, will increase the occupancy to 1,500 students. Some phases will focus on increasing instructional space, while others will include updating utilities and other infrastructure.
“Growth is always great, but with it come its own challenges. We have done long-range planning over the past year to help us address those concerns,” Moss said. “We are always nervous about a bond issue. We have a tremendous and supportive community, but sometimes there is that feeling because it is so supportive that maybe an individual vote will not matter. So, some that can vote don’t, and we need every ‘Yes’ vote.”