Five years ago visitors to the Elsberry School District had free range of the hallways, sometimes, never being seen by a secretary.
During the last five years, visitors now have to buzz in and are at least seen, but still have free range, unless stopped by a secretary.
After the April 3 municipal election, the future could mean free range of the hallways will be a thing of the past.
The voters of the school district are being asked to vote yes on Prop 2. Prop 2 is a $2.5 million dollar no tax increase bond issue. If it passes the current school tax rate will stay at $4.13.
“The board of education has committed to maintain a constant tax rate and would likely continue to pre-pay on existing bonds if the issue did not pass,” stated Dr. Tim Reller, superintendent.
This bond issue is similar to issues passed in 2007 and 2013. It will allow the district to complete necessary improvements by extending the life of the current bonds without increasing the tax rate.
The board along with teachers and administration addressed specific needs that the district was facing.
They came up with eight items, some of those items were on the list to do from the 2013 bond. Some are new issues that made themselves known to the board.
If the bond issue passes the board is confident that the eight items will be completed and are hopeful that some funds may be leftover to tackle other projects.
While the board feels all eight projects are needed, one project stands out, relocating of the middle school office and superintendent’s office to exterior rooms and making those as well as the elementary and high school offices secure.
In light of numerous school shootings, student safety has become just as important as a student’s education. Making students and faculty feel more secure is something the board of education, Dr. Reller and his staff take very serious.
“This project to create a more secure entrance for visitors is not some knee-jerk reaction,” said Dr. Reller. “The board as been working on this for close to 18 months.”
The relocation of the Middle School Office was actually on the list from the 2013 bond issue.
“As the board of education was evaluating projects for this bond issue, one main problem identified with our current configuration was the need for parents and visitors to walk through the hallways to enter the middle school office and superintendent’s office,” said Dr. Reller. “In working with our architect firm, we were able to develop a plan to relocate these offices so that they have an exterior entrance.”
According to Dr. Reller they have studied the current best practices in school design and found that most schools are being designed in this manner.
According to Dr. Reller, this type of entrance has become the norm for schools. He stated anyone that has visited the Winfield High School would realize the direction the Elsberry School District is wanting to go.
Numerous projects on the list are based on things such as age. Replacement of a main water line, repaving the high school parking lot, replacing the gym floor, HVAC, lighting, plumbing and bathroom improvements in the Ag Building and updating the FACS room.
“A lot of these are needing to be updated because they are out of date,” said Dr. Reller.
Many of these updates are to original equipment that was installed 40-50 years ago.
Another project is to add restrooms for the fifth and sixth grade classrooms. Currently those students travel down to the end of the middle school where restrooms are located.
If the bond issue is passed smaller projects would be completed during the summer of 2018. The entrances and bathrooms would be completed in the summer of 2019.