he newest edition of the Platte County R-3 School District newsletter indicates the school district will be placing a bond issue question on the April ballot.
The piece in the October/November issue of the Treasures newsletter doesn’t list a total dollar amount for the bond issue proposal. But Laura Hulett, communications director for the school district, told The Landmark on Tuesday the bond question will be in the amount of $92 million. On Thursday, Hulett said the bond issue ballot question will actually be in the amount of $75 million but “we plan to employ the $75 million in a structure that provides up to $92 million for construction projects.”
The district has indicated the proposed April 2021 bond issue “will be presented at no additional cost to taxpayers because of effective financial management and strong growth in our tax base.” Hulett said the district has been “paying off debt ahead of schedule” and school officials anticipate the district’s tax base will continue to grow.
According to the district newsletter, projects proposed in the bond issue will include:
*A new middle school to be built on the donated 80 acres at Hwy 152 and Platte Purchase Drive. It would be a 500-600 student capacity facility with potential for expansion.
District officials say the planned 93,000 sq. ft. facility will feature classrooms supported with adjacent collaboration opportunities and space for hands-on and exploratory learning. Other amenities will include a safe and secure entry and administration area, a state-of-the-art media center and full sized gymnasium, kitchen and commons.
Students will have access to outdoor learning opportunities as well as an adjacent middle school track and field. The proposed building site is part of a larger tract of land gifted to the district that will be master-planned to house the second district high school in future years, according to the district newsletter.
Pathfinder Elementary and Barry School would be converted/renovated to K-5 schools.
With the addition of the new middle school, classroom and building renovations and enhancements needed to convert Barry School and Pathfinder Elementary to serve kindergarten through fifth grade would also be planned. This change would mean that all R-3 elementary schools would be K-5, simplifying the move from elementary to middle school for all students, district officials say.
The land 80 acres at Hwy. 152 and Platte Purchase was donated to the school district by a developer with the stipulation that within 20 years a high school would be built on that land.
A high school at that location is not included in the bond issue question planned for April, only a new middle school.
If a high school is not built there within 20 years the district will have the opportunity to purchase the land, Hulett explained.
“We have the whole site master planned for both the high school and the middle school,” Hulett said.
*First phase of rebuild of Platte County High School.
As part of Platte County High School’s master plan, all areas of the school will be rebuilt or improved to improve the learning environment and address facility issues that come with an aging building, school officials say. The first phase of this rebuild will be part of the proposed bond issue.
The rebuild would consist of about 280,000 sq. ft. of new construction, with the 12,500 sq. ft. Wilson Auditorium being the only part of the existing building to remain once all phases are complete.
District officials say the full PCHS master plan includes new-age learning classroom wings, updated fine arts, athletics and multi-purpose educational spaces, a single cafeteria/serving area, and a two-story learning commons.
The rebuild of Platte County High School will be designed to house about 1,600 students and “will also embody the district’s principles of learning,” according to the Treasurers newsletter report.
“The completed high school rebuild will solve problematic wayfinding, separation of traffic patterns, and lengthy student travel distances as well as commuting between buildings. It will also allow for an entire overhaul of the HVAC and other aging infrastructure. The total work will be funded by three separate bond issues and will be completed in three phases,” district officials say in the Treasures newsletter.
The first phase, to be included in the 2021 bond issue, will include a two story addition on the southwest side of PCHS where the current baseball field is located. The first phase will be a “stand alone” from the existing high school but it will eventually be connected to the existing high school in future phases, Hulett said.
The south side of the new stand alone structure will serve as a bus loop fr student drop-off and pick-up.
The existing Platte County High School front entrance will continue to serve that purpose until future phases establish a new front entrance, Dr. Jay Harris, executive director of operations for R-3, told The Landmark this week.
This phase will include 20 classrooms, six science labs, two stem/computer labs, a new main gymnasium complex, weight room and health classroom, cafeteria commons, and kitchen/serving area. Phase one will also include a new baseball field, some stadium upgrades, and improved parking and traffic patterns.
*Officials say district-wide upgrades would be made. Improvements would be made in each school facility with emphasis on safety and security improvements and technology upgrades.