Springfield — Members of the Springfield Board of Aldermen voiced their support for the construction of a new high school during their most recent meeting.
Members of a citizen’s group, The Springfield School Expansion Project, presented plans for the campus, which will require a new 36.25-mill property tax to cover the anticipated $14.3 million price tag.
The group emphasized that the proposed campus will be a boon to all the district’s schools. The existing junior high would be able to move into the existing high school, and the elementary school could split into upper and lower schools, sending the older children to the existing junior high campus.
That would alleviate overcrowding on campuses and eliminate the need for multiple temporary classroom buildings, according to literature the group disseminated.
Junior high students also would have access to bigger and better athletic, library, lab and music facilities at the current high school.
Aldermen were impressed by the designs, though they did express disappointment that the plans don’t include a football field.
Group member Josh Randall said everyone involved with the project wanted to build a stadium but that the district can’t raise enough money through the millage to pay for the necessary academic facilities and a new field. The site on La. 42 does have enough room for an athletic expansion in the future.
Alderwoman Mildred Cowsar asked if organizers were still looking for donations to help cover those costs, to which Randall replied that advocates were trying to keep all their options open.
Springfield aldermen also took a brief digression down memory lane when Randall shared that aspects of the design for the new school were inspired by the campus for the old high school that burned down in 1971.
Other features highlighted in the groups literature include a new agriculture facility, an air-conditioned gym, a technology library and media center, an acoustically sound band facility and a “cafetorium,” which can double as a dining and event space.
Organizers broke down the cost of the project, stating that people who own property with a home market value of $100,000 would pay an extra $91 in property taxes the first year, should the measure pass at the ballots April 9. Property worth $200,000 would equal $453 in new taxes, and homes valued at $300,000 would be on the hook for $816 in school funding.
However, the group remarked that owners who don’t currently pay property taxes won’t be affected, and the millage rate is expected to decrease over the life of the bonds, a sentiment local school board member Jim Richardson has also shared.
The Springfield aldermen gave their vocal support of the new tax, and their attorney advised them that they can draw up an official written endorsement to sign at a future meeting.