The St. Clair R-XIII School Board could ask voters to support a no tax increase bond issue that would help pay for building upgrades and repairs in 2020.
The school board is in the midst of interviewing architectural firms to design a long-range facility plan for the district’s campuses that looks five to 20 years in the future.
The school board will decide in 2019 if it plans to ask for voter approval on the bond issue.
In his bulletin to parents and community members, Superintendent Kyle Kruse said a new facilities plan would “basically analyzes the buildings we already have, and provide a road map for keeping school facilities up-to-date and ready to serve kids.”
In an interview Monday, Kruse said the main improvements needed are safety and security at each building. Some other repairs include the high school gym bleachers, football stadium bleachers and air-conditioning and heating systems.
He noted that there also needs to be more parking overall.
“We need to improve traffic flow at every building,” he said.
Another issue Kruse said is students having to walk several yards away to get the agriculture building and the JROTC building.
“It’s just not a great situation for safety and security,” he said.
The district’s “newest” building is St. Clair Elementary, which was built in 1983. In 2003, there was an addition built.
Edgar Murray Elementary is the second-oldest building, which was constructed in 1961 with an addition built in 2003.
The junior high is the oldest building, which was built in 1953. There were major renovations made to the junior high after a catastrophic fire in 1968.
The high school building was constructed in 1968 and there have been several additions since then.
“Despite their age, I’m happy to report that our school buildings do ‘work,’ ” Kruse said.
“The (buildings) do a good job providing the space we need for kids, but they also need some improvements,” he added.
Kruse believes the last building projects were completed in 2003.
“We hadn’t really done much in the way of construction or renovations since then,” he said.
To Seek Input
After the board decides on an architect, Kruse said members will be reaching out to teachers, administrators and the community for input on the plan.
“What we’re trying to do is choose an architectural firm to kind of take us through a long-range facility plan and engage the community, engage the teachers, the administrators, and make sure that we’re all working together to identify priorities and to work out almost a road map for what our facilities should look like in 10, 15, 20 years,” Kruse said.
Once a good plan is in place, he said the board could decide to ask voters to finance a portion of the project through a no tax increase bond issue.
“Thanks to paying off some debt over the years, the school board could ask our community to finance about $10 or $12 million of new work with no tax increase,” he said.
So far, the school board has interviewed Chiodini Architects, FGM Architects Inc., Porter Berendzen & Associates and Ittner Architects Inc.
Kruse said the school board will choose a firm before the Christmas holiday. Early next spring is when the board will hold meetings with faculty and the community.
“We look forward to working with the community and we appreciate their support,” Kruse said.