For the third straight year, the Grain Valley School District will ask voters on April 7 to approve a bond issue for construction to accommodate a growing student population.
This bond issue is for $14.5 million, which will focus on additions and renovations for performing arts programs at the high schools. As with previous bond issues, which voters have heartily approved, this proposed project will not increase the Grain Valley's debt service tax levy, as the district is only borrowing up to its allowed capacity.
With this project, the district plans a new band room, percussion room, choir room, drama classroom, stagecraft room (for stage scenery, costumes, etc.), black box theater and additional parking south of the building.
The project is Phase 5 of the district’s long-range plan to transform the high school from its 850-student capacity in 2012 to as much as 1,600 students.
“High schools are organized by departments, and we've had an engineering phase, a science phase, a broadcast and business phase and then library and administration,” Deputy Superintendent Brad Welle said. “Now, it's just time to get this done so we can do the next phase with the new gym, which will overlap with the current music rooms.”
“We've always promoted our performing arts, and this is a great not to reinforce these programs.”
Welle said the renovations to the Mueller Performing Arts Center will be more in the backstage area, which right now tends to get overcrowded.
“Our auditorium is kind of landlocked, and by adding classrooms to the west, that will free up the backstage area,” Welle said.
The black box theater is a versatile room that can be set up as a rehearsal space or for a formal event such as a music concert or banquet.
Last year, 76 percent of voters said yes to $7.5 million in bonds for an addition to the North Middle School. In 2018, a similar percentage said yes to $11.5 million for the previous high school addition – a new library, administrative offices and main entrance. More than 80 percent approved a 2016 bond request.
If this bond issue passes, Welle said it would be a few more years before the district asks for bonds for the next phase, as the district rebuilds borrowing capacity.
“Our hope is that in the phases that follow, when we build something new we're also able to renovate something existing,” Welle said.