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Blair Oaks expects more information on second high school soon

Blair Oaks expects more information on second high school soon

November 14th, 2018 by Phillip Sitter in News

Blair Oaks High School in Wardsville

There was not a whole lot of new information that the Blair Oaks Board of Education heard Tuesday night on the prospect of a new high school, but work continues, and surveyors have been on the site where a new school would be.

"What they are doing now is trying to figure out what can be accomplished in phase one," Blair Oaks' Superintendent Jim Jones said of the work The Architects Alliance is doing.

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A new Blair Oaks High School would be built in two phases, in order to fit within the cost constraints imposed by the district's bonding capacity — approximately $14 million for the first phase, and up to approximately $4.75 million for the second phase.

Voters in the district may be asked to approve a new high school in the April 2019 election. The board has until January — when the April ballot has to be certified — to make a final official decision on whether the school will be on the ballot, but preliminary preparations and 
information gathering have already been underway for months.

The board raised the district's debt service levy by 30 cents in August to prepare for a bond issue to pay for a new high school.

Jones said geotechnical surveyors began doing work on the site where a new high school would be — across Falcon Lane from the current Blair Oaks Middle School — on Nov. 7. He did not immediately know the extent of the work the surveyors have done, but did know flag markers have been placed in what's for now a farm field.

Representatives of Architects Alliance were not present Tuesday, but Jones said the board may call a special meeting sometime to here more information based on conversations the Architects Alliance has had in recent weeks with Blair Oaks staff on what their needs are for things such as space, furniture and storage.

Randy Prenger, the district's director of buildings and grounds, complimented Architects Alliance's approach of asking what staff's needs are before coming up with drawings.

Jones said the district does not yet have a timeline of decisions that would have to be made in advance of constructing a new high school, such as selecting an electricity provider for the building.

He said the current high school and Blair Oaks Elementary School receive their electrical power through Ameren Missouri, and Falcon Athletic Complex and the middle school are powered through Three Rivers Electric Cooperative — based on where infrastructure is in place around the properties.