School board wants cost estimates on possible building projects

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Cape Girardeau's five-year-old public high school could get added classrooms, a performance hall and a football/soccer/track athletic complex that would include bleachers, restrooms and a concession stand.

They are among the high-profile construction projects being considered by superintendent Dr. David Scala and the school board.

Board members held a work session Monday night with Scala and central office administrators to discuss the district's facility needs and possible projects.

Besides improvements to the high school, board members and school administrators said possible projects include renovations to the junior high school and remodeling of the district administration building to house the Alternative Education Center.

School board members said the district needs to develop cost estimates for the major projects before the board can make any final decisions. Board members said that means hiring architects to put together cost estimates.

Scala promised to put together a proposal on feasibility planning for such projects and said he'll report back to the board later this month.

As for the idea of an outdoor stadium, board president Steven Trautwein said the board still needs to consider whether it would be best for the district to continue playing its varsity high school football games at Houck Stadium under a rental agreement with Southeast Missouri State University.

Trautwein said Houck Stadium is "a very good place to play football."

But board member Tom Reinagel said the problem with the Houck Stadium arrangement is that Central High School has to play its home games on Thursday nights rather than the traditional Friday nights.

Reinagel suggested a new athletic complex for football, soccer and track could be built at the high school on the site now occupied by two soccer fields.

Scala told the board that the high school athletic sites need to be finished. That includes lighting the existing athletic fields such as the baseball and softball fields and the tennis courts, he said.

Patrick Morgan, who oversees buildings and grounds as executive director of administrative services for the district, said the central administration building on Clark Street has sufficient room to house the Alternative Education Center.

The district is in the process of selling the old Schultz School where the Alternative Education Center is housed. The pending sale could be finalized by January, forcing the district to find a new home for the alternative school by August 2008.

Morgan suggested Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center students could renovate part of the administration building at a cost of about $200,000.

But Reinagel said construction trades students couldn't renovate the building quickly enough. He and other board members suggested the district would do better to hire a professional contractor.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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