Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Joplin R-8 Board approves combined Columbia/West Central elementary school, Kelsey Norman addition
The vote approved the recommendation of the district's Long Range Facilities Committee, which consists of administrators, teachers, students and community members.
Board members expressed some sadness and conflicted thoughts about the elimination of the smaller neighborhood schools, but indicated the final decision came down to safety and the current facilities not being equipped to handle 21st Century education.
"I will be voting with a heavy heart, but a clear mind," Board President Sharrock Dermott said.
Board member Lori Musser expressed similar concerns.
"I want people to know this is not an easy decision. We've spent the last few years trying to remedy the problem. We need to do what is best, not just for our kids at Columbia and West Central, but for the district.
The plan calls for a no-tax bond issue of $22 to $25 million.
The estimated cost of the project is $19.6 million for the combined Columbia/West Central and $2.875 million for the Kelsey Nornam addition, which will enable the district to remove modular classrooms that are being used.