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The Blair Oaks R-2 School District's Board of Education approved the first sale of bonds Tuesday to pay for construction of a new high school.

Local voters approved a $14 million bond issue in April to pay for the first of two planned phases of construction of the new high school.

Tom Pisarkiewicz, president and chief financial officer of St. Louis-based L.J. Hart & Company said Tuesday that "the market has been terrific for (bond) issuers." The company is an investment bank focused on helping local governments borrow tax-exempt money for capital facilities and equipment needs, according to its website.

Blair Oaks Superintendent Jim Jones said the district opted to issue bonds at this time to take advantage of interest rates — wanting to lock in favorably low rates to ensure savings.

Pisarkiewicz said the money from the bonds the board voted unanimously to issue would be wired to the district Oct. 2.

He suggested the remaining $5 million in bonds for the first phase of construction be sold sometime next year.

The total cost of the new high school is projected to be $19 million.

The new school is planned to open in August 2021, with the first phase finished. The project is expected to be fully completed in August 2025.

The Architects Alliance's Principal Architect Cary Gampher told the school board Tuesday that a contractor will start major earthwork — across the street from what's currently Blair Oaks Middle School — as soon as weather allows in spring 2020.

A general contractor likely will be awarded a bid in January, and the district expects to put another bond issue — for the remaining $5 million of the $19 million total construction cost — before voters in April 2023, according to information on the district's website.

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