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SCHOOL WORK: Over a dozen classroom additions and renovations are among goals for work at Logan-Rogersville Elementary School – part of a $32 million bond issue on the April 5 ballot.
Provided by Ball Architects PC
SCHOOL WORK: Over a dozen classroom additions and renovations are among goals for work at Logan-Rogersville Elementary School – part of a $32 million bond issue on the April 5 ballot.

Logan-Rogersville district seeks $32M bond issue

Posted online

Voters in the Logan-Rogersville School District are being asked to approve a bond issue next month for the second time in three years. 

School officials say the $32 million proposal on the April 5 election ballot won’t raise taxes and will keep the district’s debt service property tax levy at 94 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. It’s considered a second phase to campus improvements approved by voters in 2019. The district includes portions of Greene, Webster and Christian counties.

Phase II seeks to address district needs, including additions and renovations for classrooms and libraries, and construction of a storm shelter at the primary school and a multipurpose facility at the high school. Numerous campus improvements also are proposed, such as upgrading roofs, HVAC systems, parking lots and athletic fields. 

“Every school is going to have additional classroom spaces added on to accommodate the growth,” said Shawn Randles, district superintendent. “The classrooms are a priority. We don’t want to get behind the eight ball and have to pull in a bunch of mobile classrooms.” 

Randles said the district has used modular classrooms temporarily in the past while building expansions were in progress. 

“I don’t anticipate us having to do that right now,” he said. “We have enough available classroom space to accommodate the growth we have over the next two or three years while these classrooms are being built.”

Addressing growth
K-12 enrollment reached 2,296 this school year, Randles said, a 5% increase over the past five years. The district started doing demographic studies in 2015 with Blue Springs-based firm Business Information Services LLC, repeating the process in 2018 and 2021.

“With the information that we received in those demographic studies and the trend we’re seeing, we’re up about 35 kids per year each of the last three years,” he said. “That’s not huge growth but it’s more growth than we’ve had the prior 10 years.”

Rogersville City Administrator Chad Bybee said the bond issue proposal should keep the school district in line with the city’s population growth. The city had 3,863 residents in 2019, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data. That’s up 25% from the 2010 census count of 3,070.

Bybee is yet to see any 2020 Census data for Rogersville but believes the population could be closer to 4,000. Residential construction has been active over the past few years, he said, pointing to developments such as the 72-unit Homestead at Crosswood apartments completed last year and Logan Heights, another three-building apartment complex which opened in 2020.

“Since 2019 when I became city administrator, we’ve had 742 units that have either been built or are in the process of being built,” he said, citing a mix of apartments and single-family houses. 

As new project proposals appear before the city, Bybee said he always keeps the school district apprised and gets input on potential enrollment impact.

“Dr. Randles and I are always in communication with one another of what’s coming in,” Bybee said.

In support
The April 5 bond issue requires a four-sevenths, or 57.14%, majority to pass. The $8 million bond issue in 2019, which also was a no-tax increase measure, passed with 72% approval. 

Roughly $5.5 million of the work approved went toward the elementary school for renovations, as well as construction of a library and gymnasium, which also doubles as a Federal Emergency Management Agency-rated storm shelter open to the public, Randles said. Before the construction, the school building’s gym and cafeteria shared space. 

“The rest of the money went to safety and security upgrades to update all of the entrances to our other schools,” he said, noting all project work was completed by May 2021.

Voters also supported a $10 million bond issue in 2007, which funded construction of the primary elementary school. 

School officials began a strategic planning process in 2017 in preparation for the 2019 ballot measure, knowing that by then the district would have about $8 million in bonding capacity and $30 million by 2022. 

“We’ve already had conversations knowing that the next opportunity that we have that will be a no-tax increase will be in 2027,” Randles said. “We will probably have about a $25 million no-tax increase available to us in bonding capacity at that time.”

If the April 5 issue passes, Randles said construction would follow closely behind. Projects would have to go out to bid for a general contractor, but Ball Architects PC is already on board as the architect. 

“We anticipate there are projects that will start as quickly as possible because we want to protect the learning environment. So, we want to get as many things done as possible over the summer,” he said. “This is three years’ worth of projects and we’re fully anticipating because of supply chain issues and worker shortages there may be some delays.”

Additionally, Randles said some projects might not get tackled if factors such as inflation or wages of contractors and subcontractors result in the $32 million not stretching as far as hoped. That could result in some work becoming part of a phase three option.

“It will just stay on the list if it’s that important to us, and we’ll address it as we can or readdress it in 2027,” he said.

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