Gasconade R-2 Long Range Planning Committee reviews wishlist, plans district building tours

By Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 3/16/22

The Gasconade County R-2 School District Long Range Facility Committee reviewed on Feb. 28 its maintenance needs and wishlist for projects in 2022 and beyond that could lead a request for voter …

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Gasconade R-2 Long Range Planning Committee reviews wishlist, plans district building tours

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The Gasconade County R-2 School District Long Range Facility Committee reviewed on Feb. 28 its maintenance needs and wishlist for projects in 2022 and beyond that could lead a request for voter approval of a future no tax increase bond issue.

Director Debbie Landolt asked the committee and present board members about a measure to connect district properties to the Rock Island Trail that was accepted by Missouri State Parks on Dec. 14, 2021, and is being looked at as a safe route to school.

“We want to plan to connect to the new trail?” Landolt asked. “Last time we had a committee there was no plan to connect to the trail because of safety concerns.”

Superintendent Dr. Jeri Kay Hardy acknowledged Landolt’s statement.

When the previous committee met in 2016, the Rock Island Trail hadn’t been accepted yet.

“We have also asked the question about whether child sex predators would be allowed on the trail,” Hardy said. “Trail representatives said if the trail doesn’t have an attached playground with 500 to 1,000 feet from the trail then it could be used by a child sex predator.”

Hardy said she felt the school district needed to look into a venture to add a playground to the Rock Island Trailhead if it prevents sexual predators from being able to use that portion of the trail.

Owensville High School Principal Kris Altemeyer was not present at the meeting but sent his requests to Hardy.

“Kris would like a performing arts center,” Hardy said to laughter in the room. 

Previous plans for a performing arts center allowed the building to double as a storm shelter. Altemeyer also asked the committee consider adding in new bleachers for the gyms. Jason Hinson is on the Gasconade R-2 maintenance team and said that while they are needed, the bleachers are expensive.

“Somewhere around $120,000 and $130,000 per section,” Hinson said. “We need three or four sections.”

What to do with the courtyards at the high school has been an ongoing discussion.

“There is no good answer,” Hinson said.

The district has previously priced what it would take to enclose the courtyard, but officials don’t want to lose the windows for fresh air and new light.

At the Owensville Middle School, Principal Teresa Schulte had several concerns.

“The office at the middle school can’t see anyone coming in from outside,” Schulte began. “We are the only building that can’t see people when they are coming in.”

Someone asked about cameras outside of the building and Schulte confirmed that cameras capture visitors who are outside of the vehicles, but there is a blindspot when visitors come in through the doors before they could get to the office.

“Anyone could duck into the library or art room first and we wouldn’t know it,” Schulte said. “Maybe the office could be moved to the art room,” Schulte suggested. 

Roofs are on a rotation cycle and are due to be replaced.

Maintenance Director Gary Pohlmann reported at least 10 buses are due for an upgrade.

“One thing we have learned is to scatter out the purchases so they are not all due to be replaced at once,” he said. “We have approved the purchase of two buses and plan to purchase two more 2022 models in July. In 2023, buses will go up to $15,000 more per bus.”

Board members and maintenance personnel also discussed MAP21, the federal guidelines that have made it harder to acquire a CDL license to drive a school bus.

“That means no more one-day CDL,” Pohlmann said. “They will have to go to school and do pre-trip training and road trip training and once they start we can’t change the training.”

Gasconade County R-2 will become a CDL training provider.

“This will be a deeper notch in the need for bus drivers,” Pohlmann said.

Hardy asked the committee to tour each of the four buildings and discuss what each one needs to come up with a prioritized list.

“We will do two buildings at a time,” Hardy said. Board members agreed to meet at 3:30 p.m. on April 4, starting in the OHS teacher’s parking lot and moving on to OMS. They will meet again at 3:30 p.m. on April 11 at Gerald Elementary School in the east side teacher’s parking lot and end at Owensville Elementary School. 

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