KMS tour shines light on condition of 104 year old building

Saturday, March 10, 2018
Superintendent Chris Wilson held a presentation on renovation plans for KMS along with information pertaining to the Proposition K.I.D.S. Bond issue. Following the presentation attendees were offered a tour of the 104 year old building.
Photo by Jeff Dorris, staff

Kennett Superintendent Dr. Chris Wilson, along with students, teachers and Kennett Middle School Principal Ward Billings, held an informal presentation and tour of the 104 year old building on Tuesday.

Concerned parents and grandparents listened as Dr. Wilson explained the Proposition K.I.D.S. Bond issue that will be voted on April 3, as well as the actual renovation plans for the school.

“Renovation will begin with the sixth grade building,” said Wilson. There’ll be new windows, new doors, HVAC system, new lighting and electrical, upgrades of those types of things. That building is in good shape but believe it or not, it’s about 25 years old. It needs some work.”

KMS Principal Ward Billings conducted a tour of 104 year old school building on Tuesday night. Attendees could see firsthand the deteriorating condition of the structure.
Photo by Jeff Dorris, staff

Wilson informed those in attendance that the seventh-eighth grade three story building would be a new construction. It will connect onto the sixth grade building.

“That building will be single story,” said Wilson. “Looking at this three story building it’s over 100 years old. The cornerstone was laid in 1913. It’s been a great building for the district but at this point we’re looking at upgrading and offering our children an improved educational opportunity.”

Wilson shared that this phase would carry a tax increase.

Superintendent Chris Wilson held a presentation on renovation plans for KMS along with information pertaining to the Proposition K.I.D.S. Bond issue. Following the presentation attendees were offered a tour of the 104 year old building.
Photos by Jeff Dorris, staff

“On April 3 on the ballot it will say, Proposition K.I.D.S. Phase III,” he said. “It will say a $5.8 million bond issue.”

A bond issue is a way to borrow money to fund capital projects like school renovations. This requires voter approval.

The District obtains bids and sells bonds to the buyer with the lowest interest rate. The District then pays back the debt over a period of years with tax dollars.This process is similar to a home loan.

Continuing on with his explanation Wilson said, “It’ll say 33 cents per $11 of assessed evaluation. That’s what the increase will be.”

“For example if you own a home and it’s appraised at a value of $150,000 that appraisal will cost you approximately $94 a year or $7.84 a month,” he said. “If you own a business at $750,000, it’s going to cost you roughly about $292 a year increase.”

The bond has a twenty year term on it.

Wilson stated that the early learning center on Wiggs Street, formerly West School would relocate to the Masterson campus.

“If this passes on April 3 we would start work two to three weeks after the election,” informed Wilson. “Realistically probably looking at the 2019-20 school year, but hopefully if everything went well, we’d like to possibly try to get into the middle school in January of 2019, if possible.”

Wilson then began to share some of the difficulties that the middle school contends with.

Classrooms do not have proper electrical service which results in the use of extension cords and overloading circuits.

Exterior brick veneer and roofing is deteriorating.

Interior plaster walls are deteriorating due to water damage.

Fire alarm is an older, unsafe system that is not compliant with today’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines.

“The boiler system is fifty something years old,” said Wilson. “It was so cold a month ago on the third floor it never got above fifty degrees in these classrooms. They wre teaching I gloves and coats, students had coats on and blankets. The boiler system just won’t keep up. It runs 24/7, it’s outdated, it’s inefficient.”

“As far as air conditioning, we have window units currently,” Wilson continued. “They’re noisy and the students have to deal with that as well. We also have a leaking roof.”

The new middle school will offer efficient heat, air and electrical systems, no asbestos, state-of-the-art fire alarms, science lab, advanced media center and high seismic standards in case of an earthquake.

Principal Ward Billings wrapped up the presentation before the tour began.

“I’ve been in this building ever since I was about six years old,” he said. “One of my biggest concerns is the fact that we live on the New Madrid earthquake fault and we’re in a building that has one hundred year old brick and mortar. If we had a significant earthquake, we have the possibility of floors pancaking on top of each other. I hope people will keep that in mind when they consider this bond issue.”

Ward continued, “We owe it to the safety and security of our students to provide them with the safest possible facility that money can buy, that’s within reason. It’s a real concern.”

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