The Joplin Board of Education on Tuesday night voted to place the former Duquesne Elementary School property on its surplus list, the necessary first step to transferring it to another owner.
The school has been vacant since the opening of Soaring Heights Elementary School earlier this month. The town of Duquesne wants the property to possibly convert the school into a community center.
The surplus doesn’t include the school district’s two mobile units and playground equipment, or the structures and equipment owned by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Superintendent C.J. Huff said he recommended declaring the property as surplus because the school doesn’t fit with the district’s long-range plan. The 2.2-acre property is too small to accommodate future expansion or growth, and the building itself isn’t a good fit for supplemental programs, such as the early childhood education program, he said.
The district still has the old Emerson, Irving, Duenweg, South Middle and Washington school sites that could be used if growth requires expansion or construction of new schools, Huff said. The Memorial site currently housing the ninth and 10th grades also is expected to become open once the high school opens in August.
“We’ve got room to expand, I feel confident about that,” Huff said.
Board member Anne Sharp asked what would be the benefit to the district of declaring the property as surplus.
“I find it hard to give away property before we’ve settled into every place we need to settle into,” she said.
Paul Barr, the district’s chief financial officer, said declaring the property as surplus does not require that any further action take place. He said the board can remove the property from the surplus list at any time. Board members had previously approved the surplus designation for the former Irving site before later rescinding that motion.
The surplus declaration was approved unanimously as part of Tuesday’s consent agenda.
In other business, the board approved:
• The 2014-15 curriculum for Joplin High School and Franklin Technology Center, reflecting the school district’s shift to a model of preparing high school students for college courses or a career in one of five identified career pathways.
Several new courses are designed to introduce students to those career fields. A new course called Transitions will help students focus on building relationships, setting goals, identifying short- and long-term plans, and developing job- or college-readiness skills.
The course catalog also expands dual-credit class offerings in partnership with Missouri Southern State University and Crowder College from 13 to more than 40, and it adds courses called “personalized learning experiences” for students who want to pursue an independent study project.
• More than $6 million in bid packages for asphalt, athletic fields, tennis courts, landscaping and irrigation at Joplin High School.
• The $16,570 purchase of a timing system for the athletics department and the $59,759 purchase of a forklift for Franklin Technology Center.
• The extension of the lease of 7501 E. 26th St., which was being used as East Middle School, until April 30. Administrators said the extension is necessary to give the district time to restore the building, which was an agreement between the district and the building’s owner that was left out of the original lease.
BOARD PRESIDENT JEFF FLOWERS announced the formation of an interim committee, to be co-chaired by board members Michael D. Landis and Randy Steele, that will look at naming opportunities for new buildings and other property. The committee will be made up of students, teachers and community members, he said.