Voters overwhelmingly decided in the Tuesday, April 4 general municipal election to approve a no-tax increase to allow the North Platte School District to begin work on capital improvement projects, including a new junior high school.
Out of the 634 total votes, the bond question passed with 513 yes to just 121 no votes. The measure required a four-sevenths majority to pass (57 percent) and received more than 80 percent support from the district patrons.
The school district held a pair of informational meetings in recent weeks, hoping to provide patrons with insight into the plans. The tax levy would not increase, but the debt service would be extended for 12 more years.
“We just tried to get the information the community was looking for,” North Platte superintendent Karl Matt said before the election, “and as far as what the plans would be, how long it would take for the district — just get general information out there for the public and let them make the decision.”
In November, the North Platte board approved Incite Design Studio for architectural designs. The company brought a potential floor plan for a new junior high school in December, and the large project became the focal point of the district’s proposed plans.
Other projects listed on an informational brochure include high school roof repair/replacement ($375,000 estimate) and repairs/renovations and upgrades of the high school/junior high campus. In addition, the elementary school would receive foundation work, roof repairs/replacements and other renovations.
Both the high school and elementary school, located in Camden Point, Mo., would have HVAC upgrades.
Total cost of the projects is estimated at $6.65 million with the current tax rate expected to generate about $6.2 million over 12 years to go with close to another half million from a Missouri Department of Energy grant.
The district currently has a 99-cent levy in their debt services fund that is being used to pay off the projects that were voter approved in the fall of 2009, including the new North Platte Intermediate School. The current projects are expected to be paid for in full by 2025.
Currently, North Platte Junior High is conjoined with North Platte High School. The junior high is actually the original high school and is the oldest building in the district.
The initial plan calls for the current junior high school to be demolished with a new structure put in its place.
“It has been a long process as far as getting the community and stakeholders involved with what they believe is important,” Matt said. “Bringing in Incite Design Studios helped identify our needs and put out a long range plan.”