The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

February 17, 2014

Carthage School Board notes grant to help fund building project

CARTHAGE, Mo. — A contract for construction of a new building to house the early childhood education and Parents as Teachers programs was awarded Monday night by the Carthage School Board.

District officials pointed out that the building, to be constructed on district-owned property on East Fairview Avenue, will be financed primarily by grants and federal funds.

The board acknowledged a grant of $350,000 from the Steadley Foundation that will go toward the project, which is to include classrooms, offices and a tornado safe room. The early childhood special education programs serve children ages 3 to 5 with special needs. Parents as Teachers offers home visits, group meetings, developmental screenings and resources for more than 1,000 Carthage families with children from prenatal through pre-kindergarten ages.

“We thank Steadley for their help in this project and all the other things they’ve done for the district; they’ve been a wonderful partner,” said Superintendent Blaine Henningsen.

He noted that the project will be the third building completed by the district in recent years without a request for additional tax funds. A field house and classroom addition near the current Carthage Middle School was constructed in 2006, and the new Carthage Technical Center was built in 2010.

Costs for the early childhood special education portion of the building will be covered by federal funds, and the district is seeking $750,000 in other funds to add space for the Parents as Teachers program.

While other donors are being sought, the Steadley grant “is a huge step” toward that goal, the superintendent said.

The board approved a staff recommendation to award the contract to R.E. Smith Construction, at a cost $3,090,921, along with a resolution outlining plans to finance initial construction costs through a lease-purchase arrangement.

Some of the programs to be housed in the building currently are located at Fairview Christian Church, after the school district ran out of available space.

“We really appreciate everything the church has done, but we need to be in our own space,” said Mark Baker, assistant superintendent for business.

Officials expect the building project to take about 11 months to complete, he said.

The board in January voted to submit to district residents on April 8 a proposed $18 million bond issue that would finance construction of a new Intermediate Center for fourth- and fifth-grade students on district-owned property near Steadley Elementary School.

The plan, which calls for an extension of the district’s debt levy at its current rate, also envisions the existing middle school being renovated for use as a junior high school, and the current junior high becoming a sixth-grade center. The district’s elementary schools then would accommodate students through the third grade, and high school attendance would remain the same.

Also during the meeting, held at Pleasant Valley Elementary School, the board approved a calendar for the 2014-15 school year that sets Aug. 14 as the first day of school and May 20 as the last day.

Bus purchases

THE CARTHAGE SCHOOL BOARD awarded contracts for the purchase of three 83-passenger buses to Central States Bus Sales, at a cost of $278,895, and for the purchase of one 29-passenger bus to Southern Bus & Mobility, at a cost of $61,805.

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