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Board of Education gets closer look at high school concepts

At Monday night's Board of Education meeting, board members heard a presentation over the district's Master Facilities Plan from DLR representatives.

Posted: Nov 25, 2019 10:56 PM
Updated: Nov 26, 2019 2:28 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Following a lengthy discussion at Monday night's Board of Education meeting over the district's Master Facilities Plan, the board members agreed to take a small step forward in considering the options.

During the meeting, the board heard a presentation from the Principal of DLR (the district's partner in designing the Facilities plan) Scott Pashia. 

"We really need to refine the concepts that we have presented," Pashia said.

The representative laid out the five proposals the district is looking at in connection to the Facilities Plan. Those include renovating current schools, to building either one or two new high schools or a combination of both.

"The board had a conversation in [the meeting] as far as how they wanted to move forward. They've identified two approaches they want to investigate more," Pashia said.

Those approaches are centered around potentially building something new, Pashia said.

"So now it's an investigation as far as if it's one high school or two new high schools, or a configuration somewhere in between," Pashia said. 

Previous story: SJSD launches Master Facilities Plan, asks for community engagement.

However, no final decision was made. In fact, several board members said the meeting left them with more questions to be answered and points to be discussed. 

"The district's going to do a bit more research," Pashia said. "We identified questions that needed to be answered, so we'll come back around after they've had the ability to review that a bit more."

Those questions given to the board by DLR include: what are the possibilities and impacts for academic programming at new versus renovated schools, where would potential new schools be located, how would transportation look under the different concepts, what would the redistricting process look like and what would the extracurricular landscape look like at the different schools?

Board of Education President Seth Wright said a final vote won't happen anytime soon, but it was an important step to narrow down the options.

"We aren't making any decisions tonight. We aren't making any decisions next Monday. We got to take some time," Wright said. 

The DLR representative also shared results of the community online surveys and in-person meetings that aimed to gather public feedback. Pashia said they surveyed roughly 1,500 people over the entire process.

He added that the two concepts that generated the most community interest were Concepts B (build two new schools) and Concept D (renovating all three high schools).  

Board members plan to meet in December for a work session to further discuss the concepts.

The full report is expected to be released sometime tomorrow.

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