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Central Board approves preliminary construction plans

The Central R-III Board of Education gave Mark Reuther of Hoener Associates, Inc., the architectural firm charged with expanding and renovating West Elementary, permission to move forward with preliminary construction plans at the board’s monthly meeting Monday night.

Reuther was on hand to present final plans of construction for the school, and to answer any questions board members may have.

“We would like to move ahead at a rapid pace,” Reuther said.

Reuther lined out a tentative schedule for the work, with the board possibly being able to accept construction bids in November or December of this year. Students should be able to enjoy the renovated and expanded facility at the start of the 2004 school year, according to Reuther.

“But it will be a push,” Reuther said.

“This will be a challenge,” Superintendent Dr. Dave Stevens said. “The middle school was a challenge, this will be a little greater challenge.”

While there are no plans to change the construction plans, Reuther emphasized there are a number of contingency plans available in case work crews encounter any problems once the work begins.

Central voters approved a $4.6 million no-tax increase bond issue in April to fund a number of projects at the school, including the construction of a new library and media center, four classrooms, an entrance and offices.

Voters were also told a new roof would be placed on Central Elementary and new bleachers and goal posts would be erected at the high school football field using the bond money. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Desi Mayberry and Reuther updated the board on those projects.

Mayberry said the goal posts are complete and thanked members of the football team and coaching staff for painting the posts. A culvert area at the field will be casted Wednesday night and the bleachers are expected to be done by Aug. 4, with minor concrete work to be finished at that time.

“By Aug. 15, I’m still very hopeful and optimistic, that everything will be done over there at the football field,” Mayberry said.

As for the new roof, Reuther said work crews have been delayed four days and six half days because of inclement weather this summer, but the project is 45 percent complete. The main work will be done on the roof by the start of school, Aug. 14, Reuther said, but some final detail work may still remain.

In other business, Brad Coleman the high school principal addressed the board concerning the High Schools That Work grant the district was recently awarded. The district was one of 12 in Missouri selected to receive the $25,000 grant, which Coleman said will be implemented in several ways.

Coleman said the school will focus on two major principles over the next two years, “high expectations and extra help.” Student test scores have “reached a plateau,” according to Coleman, in recent years, but by setting higher goals for students and offering them extra help, the principal believes students can conquer the plateau.

One new policy Coleman plans to begin this year is testing seniors before they graduate as a barometer for how the school prepared each senior class for the next step in their education.

“We’re sending kids to college who aren’t ready for college algebra,” Coleman said.

Two problems were identified by Coleman, such as some vocational-bound students being placed in different classes than college-bound students and seniors taking “easy classes” or only attending school half a day.

From now on, Coleman hopes to have both vocational and college-bound students in the same classes and to have seniors taking more challenging courses.

“So every single student who graduates Central High School can go to a vocational school or college,” Coleman said.

In other business, the board:

  • Adopted a co-curricular handbook, which sets guidelines for students involved in extra curricular activities.
  • Approved the implementation of a new after school program, dubbed the Evening Stars program, for students in kindergarten through fifth grades.

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