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Grain Valley voters face school bond issue in February

Updated: 2014-01-22T02:44:05Z

By TRACI ANGEL

Special to The Star

Rising enrollment is the reason behind a request for Grain Valley School District voters to approve borrowing $3.8 million without a property tax increase.

The money would be used to upgrade Grain Valley High School and complete safety and security improvemens at several schools.

The measure, which will be on the Feb. 4 ballot, would fund the second phase of the district’s long-range plan for expanding the high school campus to keep pace with increasing student numbers. The district says it has nearly 4,000 students in pre-K through 12th grade, twice as many as it had 11 years ago.

This next phase includes four new high school classrooms, plus changes to infrastructure to support future additions to the high school.

Also included are upgrades to the entrances at seven buildings to function like the entrance at North Middle School. All schools already have buzzer systems. With the passage of this bond issue, entrances would be modified so visitors could go into the school only after passing through the office.

The new classrooms will be west of the high school’s science rooms added last year and will accommodate engineering and industrial technology courses.

The existing industrial technology classroom is expected to be changed to kitchen storage and a loading dock. A greenhouse on the south face of the school and a new roof to the original classrooms might also be possible with this bond issue.

If the proposal gets the required two-thirds majority, studens should be in the proposed spaces in the fall.

The high school was built in 1995, and its capacity was 850 students before the start of a master planning process conducted in the fall of 2012. Currently, 1,030 students are enrolled there.

“Four years from now we are expecting 1,270 students in the high school,” said Assistant Superintendent Brad Welle.

The district plans to construct a new transportation center this summer, and though passage of the bond issue isn’t needed for this to happen, combining bids with the high school construction could save money, Superintendent Roy Moss said.

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