Blue Springs, Grain Valley go to voters with bond issues
Two school districts.
Two bond issues.
Two sets of voters that district officials are counting on for a successful election.
“This bond issue is most important,” said Grain Valley Superintendent Chris Small. “It might only be one bond issue, but it is part of a larger process that will seriously address growth in our district.”
Both the Blue Springs and Grain Valley school districts have bond issues on the Feb. 3 ballot. Neither will increase taxes and both require a two-thirds majority to be approved.
The $86.5 million bond issue in Blue Springs will address several facility and safety issues district-wide.
Some of the projects include:
An elevator at Franklin Smith to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
Redesigned traffic patterns and a new roof at James Walker.
Additional classrooms, a multipurpose room and the redesigning of traffic patterns at both Lucy Franklin and Voy Spears.
New carpet, paint and tile and the redesigning of traffic patterns at William Bryant.
An enlarged media center, the addition of a multipurpose room and a new, secure main entrance at Thomas Ultican.
A new 70,000-square-foot addition at Cordill-Mason, allowing the current facility to house K-2 and the new building to house 3-5.
Remodeling classrooms at the Hall-McCarter Education Center to eliminate temporary walls and making improvements would be made to the restrooms and intercom system.
Upgrading security systems to all 23 facilities.
Enclosing the gaps between the Fine Arts and Language Arts buildings as well as between the Stillions and Practical Arts Buildings at Blue Springs High School.
Other significant changes would be seen at both Blue Springs and Blue Springs South high schools.
“I think some of the most important changes would happen at both of the high schools,” said Leslie Evans, public information director for the Blue Springs School District. “The high schools are important because these buildings affect every child at every level. At some point, every child in our district will attend one of these two schools.”
Projects at the high school level include:
Renovating the Practical Arts Building at Blue Springs High School, redesigning classrooms for science, art and technology.
Constructing a two-story addition at Blue Springs High School.
Creating a common entry point for visitors, staff and students at Blue Springs South.
Renovating the media center at Blue Springs South as well as making improvements to the art, music, science, technology and activity spaces.
If funds are remaining after the all other projects are completed, a 5,000 square-foot transportation center would be constructed with an eight-bay garage and parking for personnel and bus drivers.
Growth continues to be a concern for Grain Valley administrators, which is why Small said, a new middle school is so important.
“We have to keep ahead of this growth,” he said of the proposed middle school. “I believe we have a lot of support in our community, which is why we continue to build conservative buildings, while also addressing or growth issues.”
The $5.9 million bond issue would fund the first phase of a second middle school in the district. Constructed on the Pink Hill Road campus, east of the current Central Office, the middle school would be fully completed after subsequent bond issues are approved in 2010 and 2012 for the second and third phases.
The first phase of the estimated 32,000 square-foot middle school would include administrative and support staff offices such as counseling, a multi-purpose room and 10 to 12 classrooms. The multi-purpose room would eventually become the library.
The second phase would include the gymnasium, commons area and exploratory classrooms, and the third would be a two-story classroom addition.
If the bond issue is approved, construction would begin as early as April, with completion of phase one in summer 2010. Initially, only sixth and seventh graders would attend the middle school. All eighth graders would remain at Grain Valley Middle School until the third phase of the new facility is completed.
“Our goal is to keep stressing that this bond issue will not raise taxes,” Small said. “With the state of the economy, some are concerned. But we keep drumming home, and doing it quickly, that they should not be concerned – this bond issue will not increase taxes. That is the message we need to get out.”