North Platte looking at potential upgrades to facilities

DEARBORN, Mo. — The North Platte R-I Board of Education unanimously voted Monday, Oct. 24 during a special meeting to allow superintendent Karl Matt to begin negotiations with an architecture firm for potential facility projects. 

A long range planning committee was started earlier this year in order to prioritize the needs of the district such for the replacement of school buildings or upgrades to existing buildings. A request for qualifications was sent out to several architectural firms, and 10 companies responded. 

Out of those 10, the board interviewed four to assess qualifications of personnel to manage projects, references from prior clients and overall planning experience. Three final firms were picked, and Monday’s vote selected Incite Design Studio.

If an agreement cannot be reached with Incite, the next step would be to begin negotiations with Tevis Architects or HTK Architects. 

“(The board) felt like they had shown that they had the necessary experience and the qualifications and based on their references and talking with them, they felt like they would do a great job for us,” Matt said. 

There are several potential projects that the long range planning committee has assessed with staff and administration around the North Platte School district that could come from the partnership with one of the firms. 

According to Matt, the district is looking at potential renovations or replacement of the junior high school in Dearborn, Mo. This was the oldest portion of the high school/junior high campus and the original high school.

There are also roofing projects and the potential addition of band/choir rooms and/or a safe room or shelter area on the high school campus. There is already a similar shelter in place at the North Platte Intermediate School in Edgerton, Mo.

Some of the other possible projects that could occur are technology upgrades, replacing windows and HVAC systems. 

An exact timeframe is still not in sight since negotiations still have to take place. However, in order for an issue to be put on the spring election ballot, there will be an upcoming deadline.

“If we’re going to go ahead and put something on the ballot, we’ll have to have the ballot language in by January, but the board hasn’t made a decision to do that yet,” Matt said. “That’s just something they’re talking about. Once we get an architectural firm in and help us see what our needs are, they can help the board be able to make a decision whether they’re ready to move forward or not.”

Matt had said the district would hope to make the proposal a no-tax increase initiative.

The next North Platte School Board Meeting will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at North Platte Junior High School in the technology center.