The Scotland County R-1 School Board voted 7-0 on January 21st to present a $4 million bond issue to the voters on April 5th. The new construction would include early childhood classrooms, new classrooms for vocal music and band, world language, special education, and life skills, and a football locker room and weight room.
The project will also make repairs to the existing facilities, including elementary heating, air conditioning and ventilation and replacement of the baseball, football and softball field lights and the updating of the track facility. There will also be added security to the high school and an additional corridor to connect the main high school to the Ag building.
“The school board and administration feel that the projects would have a positive impact on our community, parents, and most importantly, our students,” said School Board President Sam Berkowitz. “Throughout the planning process, the school board and administration have worked hard to identify the current needs of the facility. The planning process included gathering community feedback, exploring cost effective solutions by working with the district’s architect, Klingner and Associates, and addressing maintenance on current facilities.”
Following the election results of November, 2014, the school board and administration prioritized a list of short term facility improvements.
“The school board chose to utilize current reserves leading to further deficit spending in order to fund facility projects in dire need of attention,” noted Ryan Bergeson, District Superintendent.
The improvements included security cameras and a security entrance at the elementary school, refurbishing of the elementary canopy, the high school commons vestibule, and public sidewalk replacement. Updating elementary and high school lockers, tile floor replacement in the science labs, additional classroom laptops, and improvement of campus site drainage were also updates made to the buildings.
“These expenditures totaled over $200,000 from the local budget but provided value to the structural stability of our current facilities, safety and security for staff and students, and an educational impact in the classrooms,” added Bergeson.
Bergeson continued by saying that the projects to be listed on the ballot in April are needs and priorities for the Scotland County R-1 School District and cannot be funded or completed without voter approval in the April Election.
The bond issue in April requires a 57.143% voter approval rate and would include a 40 cent debt service levy which would generate $4,000,000 to complete the projects.
The current early childhood classrooms are primarily located off campus at the First Baptist Church. Moving the early childhood program on campus would provide safety and security, improved communication for faculty and parents, access to therapy rooms for services that are performed on campus thus eliminating additional transportation costs.
“The band and vocal music program is fortunate to be surrounded by a supportive community, highly involved parents, and an outstanding instructor,” said Board Vice-President Trinity Davis. “This partnership has led to increased participation and deserves a facility that accommodates increasing student involvement.”
Students in the Life Skills program receive instruction across the street from campus which leads to travel and safety concerns as they transition from class to class.
The increased student participation due to the availability of additional World Language offerings has created a need for additional space to accommodate students.
“New athletic facilities hopefully would provide opportunities for increased participation in the football and track programs,” stated Athletic Director Lance Campbell.
This building would tie all facilities together and increase safety, security, efficiency, and cost saving measures with the construction consisting of a pre-engineered metal building with a glass and masonry front façade.
In addition to new construction, the district needs to upgrade current facilities which could be done with monies from the bond issue. Upgrades would be made to the lighting on the baseball, softball, and football fields, by replacing all three fields existing lighting with new with Musco lighting, providing a 25-year warranty and reduction of energy and maintenance costs by 50 percent.
Other improvements will also include an improved track facility with all weather material on the existing track and replacement of each field event location.
Additionally, a new and improved security and camera system will be installed at the high school. All listed projects decrease the access points that are currently security challenges at the high school.
The needed Elementary school climate control measures would include replacing the current air conditioning and ventilation system and providing thermostat controls in each classroom leading to district cost savings, increased efficiency, and student comfort.
The Scotland County R-1 School District will be conducting two informational meetings about the school bond issue. Times, dates, and locations for the meetings will be announced at a later date. The meetings will provide specific information about the bond issue to district patrons. The Scotland County R-1 School Board, Administration, and Kim Mulch, from Klingner and Associates, will be available to answer questions. For more information, please contact Ryan Bergeson, at the Scotland County School District at 465-8531.