Members of the Platte County R-3 Board of Education received their first closeup look of the district’s newest building just as they prepare to bid farewell the oldest.
On Thursday, April 21, officials with Hollis + Miller Architects and Manning Construction led a tour of under-construction Compass Elementary in Platte City. Work is scheduled to be finished this summer, allowing the centerpiece of a $29-million growth management project to be operational for the 2016-17 school year.
Compass and Siegrist Elementary will be prepared to accommodate kindergarten through fifth grades, helping absorb the students due to two major changes. Rising Star Elementary, a kindergarten only facility first opened in 1954, will close after the school year, while Platte County High School will annex Paxton Elementary — a fourth- and fifth-grade building — starting in 2016-17.
The district planned “A Fond Farewell to Rising Star” event for 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 5.
The tour of Compass started after board members negotiated a half-built roundabout intersection at Fourth Street and what will become an extension of Kentucky Avenue. At the construction site, the building still mostly consists of concrete and mortar with many of the finishing touches slated to occur in the coming months.
However, the second level already houses a framed gymnasium with basketball goals in addition to somewhat-furnished kitchen area.
Six of the seven board members (president Sharon Sherwood absent) were able to ask questions about the process, while also receiving a glimpse into the layout. Features were also discussed that included flexible areas that take into account how the building might change with future growth.
The regular board meeting later in the night saw multiple change orders and other expenses approved that are part of the estimated $29 million project.
That included more than $42,000 to be spent renovating portions of Siegrist Elementary, which currently houses first through third grades. With the addition of three grade levels there but with students dispersed between two buildings, Siegrist administrators were asked to submit a list of priority projects.
The top three will be funded and include re-configuring of four storage rooms to create additional classroom space, renovations of a computer lab and new signage outside of classrooms.
The board also approved an expense of nearly $20,000 — still well under budget — for moving expenses associated with the reorganization of district buildings. The construction also includes renovations to Pathfinder Elementary, which means teachers and workers will be moving into or out of eight different district facilities (Compass, Siegrist, Rising Star, Paxton, Platte County High School, Pathfinder, Barry School and Great Beginnings preschool).
Covan World-Wide Moving, Inc. of Shawnee, Kan. ended up the low bidder by about $14,000.
All of this work helps prepare the district for the closing of Rising Star, which originally housed first through sixth grades. The community, former and current staff members, students, and alumni are invited to attend the outdoor farewell event to reminisce on the building’s role in Platte County education during the past 60-plus years.
The grades served continued to dwindle over the years as Platte County’s district grew. By 1997, only first grade and kindergarten were at Platte City Elementary with its name changed to Rising Star, and five years, first grade was moved out as well.
The farewell event will include memories from former staff members and students, including former principal Ron Harmon, Sherwood (board president and one of the first students to attend the school), former teacher Paula Roberts and current principal Kali Young.
The evening will also feature a performance by current Rising Star kindergarten students, outdoor activities and photo opportunities. Food items will be available for purchase via local food trucks, and dessert will be provided by the Platte City Elementary PTA.
Photos, stories, traditions, and other Rising Star memorabilia will also be on display.