BAXTER SPRINGS — Construction on the renovation projects at Baxter Springs Schools is proceeding apace and Superintendent Dennis Burke said he's happy with the progress, noting it's not just a matter of new additions to existing buildings but interior renovations as well.
"We were pleased we go the opportunity to do some remodeling as well as new construction," he said. "It goes beyond aesthetics."
Burke noted the restrooms in Central in particular, barely met standards for the Americans With Disabilities Act.
"They just couldn't accommodate the physical needs of some of our students," he said.
Several projects were part of the $8 million bond issue passed last year:
• Construction of FEMA certified storm shelters at each building that will also serve as classroom space. A portion of these shelters will be made available to the public outside of the school day.
• Relocate the 7th and 8th grade classrooms to their own addition at Baxter Springs High School.
• Relocate the 6th grade classrooms to their own addition at Central Elementary School.
• Construction of a dining area at Central Elementary School, and:
• Construction of two additional Kindergarten classrooms at Lincoln Elementary.
Burke said when the last bond issue failed a consultant firm was called in to try to figure out the reasons why.
He said, the narrow margin told them there was support for some sort of building project, not just what.
According to Burke, the consultants discovered that while there was broad agreement that the middle school needed replacing — the building was constructed in 1918 — there was consensus that there was life left in Lincoln and Central.
The project added about $8.63 per month on a $100,000 house to local property taxes.