January 13, 2021 - Key News
Board approves first phase of bond projects
The Harrisonville Schools Board of Education approved the first phase of bond projects made possible through community support of Proposition N.
At the December meeting, Board members listened as Justin Durham of Hollis+Miller Architects provided an overview for proposed work at Cass Career Center, Harrisonville Elementary School, Harrisonville Early Childhood Center and Harrisonville Middle School.
At Cass Career Center, projects include additions and renovations to shops and classrooms in the agriculture, fire science, welding, and nursing programs.
Improvements to the agriculture program include a new greenhouse, a new addition and renovation of current classroom and shop space. The new addition will include a lab area as well as two classrooms.
The Fire Science classroom area and locker room/equipment storage area will be renovated and a shop will be added that will be large enough to house the program’s fire truck.
The welding shop area will be renovated to include more welding booths, improved ventilation, and roof repairs.
A new classroom/shop area will be added to the building which will offer the opportunity for program expansion. Current plans are for the addition of an HVAC program.
As part of the new classroom/shop area, a new secure student entrance will be added to the west side of the building. This will be the entrance used by Harrisonville High School students who walk to and from Cass Career Center throughout the day.
The front entrance of the school will also be renovated to improve security. The secure entrances will include a set of double doors to limit direct access to classrooms and hallways. These entrances are similar to those in place at McEowen Elementary School and Harrisonville Middle School.
Finally, the nursing program space at Cass Career Center will be expanded. This addition will be completed as part of the bond projects, but is paid for through grant funding. The nursing addition will include a lab classroom with four exam areas, a conference room, and offices.
With the additions, Cass Career Center’s facade will get a facelift which will modernize and update the school’s appearance.
At Harrisonville Elementary School, the focus is on improved safety. The school’s office area will be reconfigured to include a secure entrance. All visitors would then have to check-in through the office before being able to enter the school’s main hallway.
The cafeteria and kitchen at Harrisonville Middle School will get a much-needed renovation. The changes will improve the traffic flow in the kitchen area and allow for more efficient meal service. Outside the cafeteria, work will be done to the ramp area which will alleviate drainage issues, but will also provide usable outdoor space for students. The area will still include handicap accessibility, but will be terraced into two larger areas for seating or tables.
The HMS office complex will also get a remodel to improve use of the space.
New flex spaces will be a part of the HMS work. A larger area near the library will offer room for a full class, while a medium size flex area for 10-12 students will be available on the second floor.
Finally, the work at Harrisonville Early Childhood Center will include an addition to the south side of the building to accommodate a secure entrance and office area which will free up current space for a serving kitchen. Currently meals are prepared at HMS and carted to ECC. A new kitchen at ECC will provide a serving and warming area for meals.
A large portion of the work at the ECC/HMS site will be outside. The current outdoor space on the east side of the schools will be reworked to include two, separate pick-up/drop-off loops, additional parking, and a playground. The pick-up/drop-off areas will include a canopy to shelter students from the elements and the current bus lane will be removed so that there’s no road running through the playground.
These projects are the first phase of work through Prop N, a no tax rate increase bond issue for $22,700,000. The bond issue was developed after input through the Blueprint community survey completed in fall 2019 and the district’s strategic planning process. Passage of this measure in June resulted in a 10 cent debt service levy rollback.
The improvements at Cass Career Center begin to address the second and third challenges cited by survey respondents - preparing all students for opportunities after graduation to include college, career & technical, military, or workforce and continuing to provide a variety of academic opportunities to meet the needs of all students.
Additionally the playground reconfiguration at ECC and the secure entrances at CCC and ECC meet another one of the top five challenges - maintaining/improving the safety/security of our schools. Secure entrances are also on the list for Harrisonville Elementary School and Harrisonville High School.
In December, the district’s construction management company, Newkirk Novak, hosted an informational session for local contractors to get information on the projects. The session was co-hosted by the Harrisonville Chamber of Commerce.
With Board approval of the first phase of projects at the December meeting, Newkirk Novak will begin the bid process this month. Construction will begin in early spring.
To view the Hollis+Miller presentation to the Board of Education, go to https://www.harrisonvilleschools.org/Page/940, then December 2020 Meeting. The presentation begins at the 33:30 mark.
December 15, 2020 - Board of Education Meeting
Hollis+Miller presents phase 1 designs
Click here for the meeting video (December 2020 Meeting) and go to 33:30
December 2020 - From Harrisonville Highlights
With voter approval of Propositions I+N in June, planning is well underway for improvements and updates to district facilities. Proposition I was a 50 cent operating levy increase for the purpose of attracting and retaining quality staff through salary increases. Prop N was a no tax rate increase bond issue for $22,700,000 for providing funds to meet needs within the district including improvement of safety & security, replacing roofs, HVAC units, and boilers; improving technology and playgrounds, and completing other repairs & improvements as identified in the facility needs assessment. Passage of this measure resulted in a 10 cent debt service levy rollback.
This summer, the Board of Education selected architecture and construction management partners. Every week building and district administrators meet with representatives from Hollis + Miller (architecture) and Newkirk Novak (construction management).
The bond projects are organized by building and in phases. The first projects will begin at Cass Career Center, the Harrisonville Early Childhood Center/Harrisonville Middle School campus, and Harrisonville Elementary School.
At Cass Career Center, in addition to bond funds, grant monies will expand the scope of projects. The school will add a practical nursing lab which is funded through a CARES Act grant. This area will include four patient rooms and a conference space. Since this addition is funded with grant money, there is a timeframe attached and it will be the first work to get underway.
Additional work at Cass Career Center will include renovation of the welding, agriculture, and fire science areas, remodel of the office area to provide a secure entrance, and the addition of a new classroom space for expanded programming.
At Harrisonville Early Childhood Center, work will focus on a secure entry/office area and expanded kitchen facilities. Outside, the work will include a reconfiguration of the playground and parking lots. Currently the bus lane runs through the middle of the ECC playground.
The work on the exterior of ECC will include a sidewalk awning which will visually connect ECC to Harrisonville Middle School. It will also provide cover for students loading and unloading from cars and buses.
Inside HMS, the work will focus on increasing the kitchen and cafeteria space which will include moving the counseling office area. There will also be flex spaces for small group learning added in some hallway areas.
Propositions I+N were brought to voters after community input through the Blueprint survey last fall and the district’s strategic planning process. The improvements at Cass Career Center begin to address the second and third challenges cited by survey respondents - preparing all students for opportunities after graduation to include college, career & technical, military, or workforce and continuing to provide a variety of academic opportunities to meet the needs of all students.
Additionally the playground reconfiguration at ECC and the secure entrances at CCC and ECC meet another one of the top five challenges - maintaining/improving the safety/security of our schools. Secure entrances are also on the list for Harrisonville Elementary School and Harrisonville High School. These entrances will require visitors to enter the office area prior to gaining access to the school.
Earlier this fall, another safety issue was addressed at McEowen Elementary with bond funding as a fence was added around the school’s playground.
The impact of the passage of Proposition I, an increase to the operating levy “for the purpose of attracting and retaining quality staff through salary increases” was more immediate as the Board of Education approved pay increases for all staff at the June Board of Education meeting. This also met one of the challenges cited in the Blueprint survey of hiring and retaining quality educators in an increasingly competitive market.
October 28, 2020 - From Key News
A Message from Mr. Mensching
We are also seeing progress and moving forward with bond projects. As I said in my last message, we have two design teams working on plans - one is focused on Cass Career Center and the other is working on ECC, HES, and HMS projects.
At the board meeting, the board members reviewed two design options for work at Cass Career Center. The next step will be to estimate costs. Some of the CCC projects will be funded through the voter-approved bonds, while some will be funded through grants. The plan would be to start the bidding process after the first of the year. The work at CCC includes an addition for the Practical Nursing program (grant funded), renovation of the welding, agriculture, and fire science areas, remodel of the office area to provide a secure entrance, and the addition of a new classroom space for expanded programming.
With each meeting and plan design release, I am reminded how appreciative we are of our patrons' support of Propositions I+N. I look forward to the work to improve our facilities to provide the best education possible for our students.
September 17, 2020
Playground fence going in at McEowen to address a safety need at that school.
June 30, 2020
Board takes steps to move forward with bond projects
The Board of Education took action on two items at the June 30th board meeting as it relates to the bond issue. First, the Board appointed board members Nancy Shelton & Doug Alexander to serve on the committee to interview Construction Manager At-Risk. Then, later in the meeting, the board approved the Hollis+Miller contract as the district's architect for bond projects.
Also during the meeting, the board heard information from the district's bonding company, LJ Hart regarding funding options for bonds.
The full Board of Education meeting summary & video can be viewed here.
June 17, 2020
Board approves salary increases for all staff
During a special meeting on June 16, 2020, the Board of Education approved salaries for all staff for the 2020-21 school year.
Thanks to the passage of Proposition I - an increase to the operating levy “for the purpose of attracting and retaining quality staff through salary increases” - teachers will see a $2500 increase to the base salary with an additional step of at least $500. All other staff will see a $3,000 increase.
“By increasing salaries by a flat amount, our most underpaid staff will see a larger percentage increase,” said Superintendent Paul Menshing.
For classified staff, the hourly rate moved from $9.25 to $10.80 for a beginning, 10-month employee. The salary for a teacher who is in their second year in the district moved from $35,000 to $38,000. Salaries are based on years of experience for all staff and for certified staff, college hours beyond a bachelor’s degree are also factored in.
Voters approved a 50 cent increase to the operating levy on June 2. In addition, they approved a $22.7 bond issue which will result in a debt service levy rollback of 10 cents. The total levy for the district will be $5.4772.
Superintendent Paul Menshing said, “We are so appreciative of our community's passage of these initiatives which support our focus areas of life-ready graduates, high-quality staff, financial stability, and community. We are happy to be able to begin implementing the improvements you approved and demonstrate good stewardship of your investment."
Additionally, the Board approved an increase in substitute teacher pay from $86/day to $100/day."
Prior to the meeting, the Board participated in a budget work session during which they heard from the Hollis+Miller Architects about next steps for bond projects. During the meeting, the Board voted to use a construction manager - at-risk to coordinate and manage the bond projects.