Rough draft of facilities plan calls for more than $35M

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bringing elementary schools up to the same standard and increasing safety measures was a central idea in the Cape Girardeau School District's evolving facilities plan.

The district rolled out a rough draft of more than $35 million in construction and renovation projects districtwide.

Neil Glass presented the plan to the facilities planning committee to gain feedback on the measure. He has been working with the committee since February to assess the needs of the district. Engineer Mark Strickland and architect Phillip Smith have been working with Glass on developing cost estimates.

The plan eases overcrowding throughout the elementary schools and standardizes space allocation. Under the first draft of the plan, each school would have 20 classrooms. Blanchard Elementary, which opened in 2000, was used as the model for the other schools, he said.

Plans at all the elementary schools except Blanchard include a centralized entrance to increase safety. At Clippard Elementary, for example, the entrance is not near the office where visitors would report.

Glass said the plan made allowances for moving the fifth grade back into the elementary schools and expanding pre-kindergarten to all elementaries in in the future. Because some elementaries already have more students than others, school boundaries would have to be redrawn, he said.

At the high school, the plan allows for an events complex, a 900- to 1,000-seat auditorium and a 22,230-square-foot classroom addition. When the school opened in 2002, budget cuts left out several construction projects, including a performing arts venue and events complex.

"The thing that echoes in my ears is 'finish what you started,'" he said.

Glass said the events complex could be phased in. The plan initially allows for a home bleacher section, press box and other features, costing $1 million combined.

Other additions, like a visitors section of bleachers, could be added as money becomes available, he said.

District officials are considering using qualified school construction bonds to fund part of the project. The bonds are available through the stimulus package and could cut the cost of the total project, Glass said. Cost estimates will also fluctuate as each project is bid, he said.

At the junior high the plan calls for a new library and addition for administrative services. At the middle school the plan indicates a parking expansion and an addition for student and administrative services.

Bids for a construction manager to help with the project are due Sept. 18. District officials are planning to approach voters with a no-increase bond issue in April.

"It's been a long time coming, but I think we've got a good plan in front of us," Glass said.


The facilities plan, broken down by school

Schoolcostsquare footage increase
Jefferson Elementary$2,884,6002,640
Franklin Elementary$6,368,00015,000
Clippard Elementary$4,522,40010,560
Blanchard Elementary----
Alma Schrader Elementary$3,851,7007,580
Central Middle School$1,025,4002,310
Central Junior High School$5,013,80019,338
Central High School$12,023,60049,000
Career and Technology Center--
Alternative Education Center--

Total cost: $35,689,500

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