Boonville R-I School District seeks voters help to move forward with projects

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News
The new addition between Boonville High School and B-Tech will feature six classrooms along with new restrooms for the gym and a trophy display case.
The front entrance at Boonville High School was given a makeover from the recent bond in 2019. Boonville Superintendent Sarah Marriott said the $10 million bond was just Phase 1, which helped renovate practically every school in the district. Voters will have a chance to vote on Proposition 2 during the April elections to continue some of the projects. “This is just an extension,” Marriott said, “but what I want to emphasize is that there is no increase in taxes.”

If you haven’t noticed the recent construction throughout the Boonville R-I School District, it’s pretty visible to the eye that improvements are being made since the last bond issue on April of 2019.

With construction almost at every building in the district, Boonville R-I Superintendent Sarah Marriott said the previous bond was about $10 million worth or projects.

Proposition 2 will be on the ballot again during the April 6 elections with no increase in taxes to Boonville residents. Marriott said this is Phase 2.

“Anytime that we need to access available bond money, so borrowing money that we have access to, we have to ask the voters for approval since it's taxpayer money, but it's not to increase taxes,” Marriott said. “It's to just continue our debt service level. It's probably a 20 year note and will be for $4 million. Phase 3 will probably be about five years. We don't have anything scoped out for that yet, but it's going to be what's next on the roofing system or the HVAC system.”

Marriott added that the board has identified about $37 million in projects that need to be done. She said that’s just deferred maintenance. For instance, Marriott said the B-Tech was built in the 70s and it's never had a new roof. She said it's never had any upgrades to it at all, so you're looking at a roof that's 45 to 50 years old. 

“The roof on your house doesn't last that long, and the mechanical systems don't usually last that long, either,” Marriott said. “The same for LSE, which is over 100 years old. That roof was at its age and the mechanical units were over 30 years old, so just wear and tear. Over time, those things break down or fall apart or disintegrate and we just need to make sure that we replace them and upkeep them. Like LSE, some of our other buildings are starting to age and they need masonry work because you have to maintain the integrity. You have to have sound structure of those buildings, and so all of those things are very expensive. When we look at costs, for instance, David Barton's roof is $1.4 million. It seems like it a lot of money, and it is a lot of money, but when you have projects that are that magnitude, that amount of money goes very quickly.”

With the cost of a new building anywhere between $25-40 million, Marriott said there are other factors to look at such as consolidating too many grade levels. She said you also have to look, is it more advantageous for the district to make repairs and maintain what they have versus building new. 

Marriott commented further that when they considered that at LSE 20-25 years ago, the community was very supportive and indicated that they wanted to maintain LSE. She said they didn’t want a new structure at that time, so that's where they have been putting their priorities in making sure they’re sustaining LSE and maintaining it, because that's what the community wanted. 

Something else the board has to consider is growth in the community. With two possible subdivisions coming to Boonville, Marriott said the district is not capable of handling that at the middle school level because they are landlocked. She said the district would then have to be very creative on what they do.

At the current time, Marriott said Boonville High School has approximately 550 students while LSE, David Barton and Hannah Cole have about 350 each. 

At this time, she said there is no room for expansion at LSE with the exception of the parking lot so the central office may have to become part of LSE in some shape or form. To add further, Marriott said Hannah Cole, Boonville High School and David Barton all have room for expansion.

The rest of the buildings are in pretty good shape, Marriott said.

In addition to the front entrance at Boonville High School, which will be completed in April, Marriott added that the connector from the high school to the B-Tech will hopefully be completed by the time school starts in August. 

The new addition at the high school will feature six classrooms, new restrooms for the gym, new trophy display, which will be moved out of the cafeteria, and new inside ramp to the stage. Marriott said new renovations will also be done to the commons this summer.

At LSE, Marriott said the district did partial tear off and re-roof along with tuck pointing and masonry repairs. “We did window replacement on the exterior auditorium, and this summer, we're going to do new tile and new lockers and some new some additional new flooring and some paint,” Marriott said. “We also did a cooling tower replacement  and science room renovations at LSE. At David Barton, we did a new kitchen floor. And then at B-Tech, we did almost an entire interior renovation with new flooring, new paint, new doors, everything new on the inside with the exception of the north classrooms, which would be the shop classrooms. We weren't able to do that, so it had a remodel, new mechanical system, and new roof at that. And then at the high school, we did the ADA accessibility in the back of the athletic complex. It had a partial roof tear off and replacement. The high school will also have new lockers, a new kitchen floor and new lockers in the football locker room.”

Marriott said this is all for Phase 1. 

Phase 2 will include almost a complete tear off and re-roof of David Barton and HVAC upgrades at Hannah Cole. Marriott added that the district will also pay off their lease purchase notes on the greenhouse and LSE cooling tower, and will also have some electrical and mechanical upgrades at David Barton.

Marriott pointed out that Proposition 2 is completely separate than the annexation issue. “I think people are muddying that proposition to is somehow tied to the city's annexation project for the new subdivision,” Marriott said. “It's completely separate issues. If we get David Barton's roof repaired and Hannah Cole HVAC system, we will be in much better shape because then we're not going to have leaking roofs.”