Washington School District

The Washington School District is proceeding with plans to build a new school to replace South Point Elementary on property it owns on Highway 100 east near St. John’s Road.

Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer said the school board met in closed session Thursday night to discuss the 75-acre property, as well as other potential sites in the South Point attendance area.

“We settled on the Highway 100 site and will have our civil engineer conduct a subsurface investigation on the back side of the property along Old Highway 100 for the new school,” VanLeer told The Missourian Friday morning.

“An aerial topography study also will be done, along with water tests, determining how much rock is at the site, traffic studies, permits and other data collection to help us estimate our costs so we can prepare bid specifications,” she said.

The studies should take about four to six weeks to complete, she added.

No vote was taken at Thursday’s meeting, VanLeer said, since the district already owns the property.

VanLeer said school board members have walked the Highway 100 property to best determine its use. The property was purchased prior to VanLeer being named superintendent and predates almost all of the current board members.

No decision has been made on what to do with the remaining property once the new school is built, she said.

Building Design

While the district studied its land options, work also got underway on the building design.

“We are looking at a two-story design and one that will best serve our specific programs from special education through regular education,” VanLeer said. “We want collaborative spaces for our students to work as well. We are sharing our vision with the architect now and once we get further along and have some visuals we can present to the staff, we will get feedback and input from them.”

The building will likely be about 75,000 to 80,000 square feet and constructed so it could be expanded if needed.

Exterior and interior colors schemes are still to be determined, along with other materials to be used in construction of the building.

South Point currently serves about 430 students, plus a large staff, and VanLeer said the maximum capacity for the new school would be about 560 students, which is similar to Washington West Elementary.

The new school is slated to open in August 2021, VanLeer said, or worst case, in December of that year.

District voters overwhelmingly approved a $26 million no-tax increase bond issue in April for the construction of a new school and safety upgrades at all district buildings, including construction of secure vestibule entryways, purchase of visitor management systems and ADA accessibility improvements districtwide.

The safety improvements will be bid as one project and that work is expected to take place next summer.

Bond Architects, St. Louis, and Washington Engineering are working with the district.