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JC Schools looks at options for building improvements

by Anna Campbell | October 1, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

The Jefferson City Board of Education and district leaders discussed the district's financial status and options for improving facilities going forward.

The Thursday work session was a chance for the board to look at some preliminary numbers and ideas for what improvements might need to be prioritized. As such, cost estimates were only rough guesses.

Lorenzo Boyd with Stifel shared information about the district's bonds and gave some preliminary information about the limits of the district's bonding capacity should they choose to put a no tax rate increase bond issue on the ballot in April.

Much of the meeting was spent discussing district needs and how they could be addressed.

Some the improvements that the board discussed were:

• Upgrades to technology, including replacement of all classroom SMART Boards with interactive panels.

• Remodeling of Belair Elementary's upstairs.

• Updates to the Miller Center's lighting and equipment.

• A new building for Nichols Career Center's building trades class.

• Remodeling of Southwest Early Childhood Center.

• Remodeling of Jefferson City Academic Center.

• Paying off certificates of participation to free up money for other areas, such as salary increases.

• Completing athletic facilities, including the items that were removed from the project because of increasing costs.

• Improvements to flooring and walls at the middle schools.

• Updates to windows at West Elementary, South Elementary, the Miller Center and the district office.

Completing those projects was one option for the board to consider.

In addition to those improvements, the board discussed the possibility of moving JCAC to the Southwest building and renovating it accordingly, which would increase space for JCAC and allow the previous space to be used for meetings or professional development. The district could build a new early childhood center in an effort to increase capacity, potentially on land near Lewis and Clark Middle School.

A few board members were enthusiastic about the possibility of being able to offer early childhood services to a greater number of children.

Another option would be to move JCAC to the East Elementary building, and build a new elementary school on the east side. Superintendent Bryan McGraw said this could satisfy some who in the past wanted to see a new elementary in that area.

That was one part of a voter-rejected 2013 ballot initiative that would also have created a larger, single high school. East Elementary ended up receiving a $3.4 million renovation in 2015.

The board and district staff will continue to explore all of those possibilities. If the district did decide to put together a bond issue for the April ballot, it would need to be finalized at the latest in January.

Print Headline: JC Schools looks at options for building improvements

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