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August 17, 2018 - The 2018-19 instructional year in the Chillicothe R-2 School District began yesterday, highlighted by the opening of the new Chillicothe Elementary School (CES) building for preschool, kindergarten, and grades one and two. That building, which replaces Central and Garrison schools, will house nearly 400 students this year. Having gathered in the gymnasium, as they will each morning when they arrive, some CES students follow their teacher out of the staging area for their first group trip to their brand-new classroom, while others (background) await their "call".


August 16, 2018 - With the 2018-19 instructional year in the Chillicothe R-2 School District beginning today, the newly constructed elementary grades building in north Chillicothe officially welcomes its preschool, kindergarten, and first-grade pupils for the first time. The general public had its first opportunity to visit and casually tour the facility Tuesday evening as an open house was held. It included a dedication ceremony which featured a program with remarks by district officials and ceremonial raising of the American flag over the building by local Boy and Girl Scouts. Seen here is the library, a large, open area immediately inside the front entrance. A number of parents and/or district patrons are also shown examining one of the classrooms. The facility, located about a quarter-mile north of the high school that opened in 2000, is designed with the long-range plan to eventually add on additional "wings" which would produce a preschool-through-fifth grade campus.


August 7, 2018 - Following a tour by the parents and students on Tuesday, August 14, a dedication ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. for the new Chillicothe Elementary School and Early Learning Center. The public is invited to the open house and tours of the building from 6:45 to 8:30 p.m. on Coach K Road.

May 18, 2018 - The end of the 2017-18 school year arrived Monday for Chillicothe preschool classes and moving day followed on Wednesday. Movers unload from a trailer supplies for the new Early Childhood Learning Center while Preschool teachers haul boxes into the building prior to setting up their classrooms. Preschool supplies are being moved to the new school first, followed by Pink House supplies and then the kindergarten and first grade supplies. The school will open for classes this fall.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

April 27, 2018 - Motorists traveling on U.S. Highway 65 north of Chillicothe should be prepared to stop at "Coach K" Street now that the traffic signals installed earlier this spring are fully operational. Striping for the traffic signal designation was completed Wednesday and the signals became operational on Thursday. There will be a 15-day observation period to make sure the signals are working correctly before a final inspection is made, according to Austin Hibler, area engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation. The signal is programmed to be green most of the time for northbound and southbound traffic, and the lights will change when the signal detects traffic in the northbound turn land as well as traffic exiting from "Coach K" Street.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

April 19, 2018 - Construction of the new Chillicothe Elementary School in north Chillicothe is nearing completion, and the school district expects to take full possession by Friday, April 27. An open house is being considered for members of the public sometime before faculty and staff make the official move from Garrison and Dewey schools. The facility will house preschool, kindergarten, and first-grade classes beginning this fall. Shown here, finishing touches are put on the floor of the school's gymnasium. In the other photo, a preschool area with elements resembling trees and a wooden bridge over water are shown.

C-T Photos / Catherine Stortz Ripley

March 30, 2018 - Work continues throughout the new Chillicothe Elementary School building in north Chillicothe. The spacious area shown here is the media center with a hexagon-shaped soffit hanging from the ceiling in the center of the room, and a learning center with hexagon cutouts in the wall. Installation of light fixtures was among working taking place at the school this week.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

February 20, 2018 - Natural daylight floods into the media center of the new Chillicothe Elementary School in north Chillicothe. Brad Heintz works on framing and hanging sheetrock for a soffit in the center of the room. The highest point of room measures 21 feet. A learning center, with hexagon cutouts in the wall, can be seen at the lower left of this photo.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

February 9, 2018 - Northbound traffic is reduced to one lane near the entrance of the new Chillicothe elementary school in north Chillicothe where crews are installing traffic signals that will regulate traffic flow on U.S. Highway 65 as well as traffic turning onto and off of Coach K Street, the road leading to the new school. The cost of the signals and installation is the school district's responsibility. Inside the new school building, workers are laying carpet, setting plumbing fixtures, installing lights and doing other finishing-type jobs. The new school will open Fall, 2018.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

January 24, 2018 - Work inside the new Chillicothe Elementary School building is moving at brisk pace. An estimated 30 workers on site daily painting, laying carpet, and installing ceilings, cabinets, kitchen appliances and more.

C-T Photos / Catherine Stortz Ripley 012418

December 12, 2017 - Chillicothe R-2 School District faculty and staff members tour the new elementary school building following the staff recognition ceremony Friday afternoon at Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center. The new school facility will house preschool and kindergarten classes, beginning in fall 2018. The large area, shown below, is the media center, which is the first large area that a person sees upon entering the building. Although the facility initially will house preschool and kindergarten classes only, the media center is designed for students preschool through fifth grade. The main hallway, shown in the background, leads to the preschool and gymnasium. The music and art rooms are on the other side of the block wall shown at the left of the photograph.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley 12 12 17

October 27, 2017 - Chillicothe R-2 School Superintendent Dr. Roger Barnes gives a tour of the new Chillicothe Elementary School to members of the school board and district staff Thursday afternoon. Barnes described much of the functions that the building would have, from the flow between classes to the lunch room and the gymnasium, to the pre-school areas, kindergarten classrooms and the first grade area. Through the windows of the building, one can see the outdoor playgrounds which are mostly complete.

C-T Photo / Jaime Saucedo 10/27/17

October 19, 2017 - Chillicothe Elementary - R-2 Board Finalizes Name for New School
By Jaime Saucedo, C-T 10 19 17
The Chillicothe R-2 Board of Education voted unanimously to officially approve the name "Chillicothe Elementary School" for the new school at the north end of town, and the "Early Childhood Center", for the Pre-K wing at the new school. A committee was selected to handle the naming of the new school and that committee brainstormed for ideas and determined three naming options to present in the form of a survey to the community. Those names were: Litton Elementary, Grand River Elementary, and the winner, Chillicothe Elementary School. Committee member Chuck Haney presented the report and recommendation after more than 58%, of nearly 1,700 participating survey voters, selected Chillicothe Elementary School, by a survey through social media. The addition of "Early Childhood Center" is just an organizational structure, through the Missouri Department of Education. Superintendent Dr. Roger Barnes explained that though it is not a separate entity, it is not uncommon for pre-schools to have a separate designation.

CAPTION: The surrounding has been completed and most of the windows are installed as construction continues at Chillicothe Elementary School. The new school is expected to be completed in May 2018, in preparation for the 2018-2019 school year.
C-T Photo / Jaime Saucedo

September 21, 2017 - Chillicothe R-2 School Board members were given a construction and facilities project update at the school board's regular monthly meeting Tuesday evening at the district headquarters and on Wednesday morning visited the new elementary school being erected in north Chillicothe. To date, the restrooms and playground at Dewey School are completed, the high school roof is completed, and the projects at the middle school are completed. There is still a renovation project at Field School and Grand River Technical School that will continue on throughout the school year. All of the walls and windows at the new elementary school have been mostly framed out and two huge trailers of sheet rock have been brought to the site to sheet rock the walls. Exterior siding is going up and is nearly complete on the north end of the building. Superintendent Dr. Roger Barnes estimated that about 75 percent of the brick work is completed and declared that the project is moving along well.

CAPTION: Construction crews have paved the roads, added the curbs and sidewalks, and are currently applying exterior siding to the new elementary school. The new campus is starting to take form and is on a good pace to be completed by the targeted date. C-T Photo / Jaime Saucedo

September 5, 2017 - Crews work on Coach K street at Hwy 65 on the north side of Chillicothe, laying the pavement on the road. Coach K Street will be the access road to the new elementary school complex. Paving of the roads is expected to be completed on Tuesday, and the next visible changes to the elementary school will be the finishing of the exterior walls of the building that should be able to be seen in about three weeks. Public access to Coach K street will not be open until the school is completed next May.

C-T Photo

August 23, 2017 - Construction on the new elementary school continues to move along toward the May 2018 scheduled completion. Roof construction will begin this week and is expected to take two to three weeks. Next week, crews will start paving roads through the campus and that project is expected to take two or three days to complete. The overall project has fallen behind by a few weeks, but better than usual winter weather allowed construction crews to get ahead back then. This photograph was taken via a drone and provided by Tim Marsh.

Photo Courtesy / Tim Marsh 08 23 17 C-T

July 12, 2017 - Storm sewer installation work continues near what will become Coach K Road, leading from U.S. Highway 65 to what will be the new elementary school in north Chillicothe. Once the storm sewer work has been completed, efforts will shift to underground work for the signal lights at the entrance to Coach K Road. The curbs will be completed and the road paved with asphalt. Meanwhile, work continues on the school building itself in the form of masonry, framing for the walls, and roughing in for plumbing and electrical lines.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley 07 12 17

District Projects, Renovations and Upgrades at $17.7M
By JAIME SAUCEDO, C-T, 06 15 17

The Chillicothe R-2 School District has been busy with plans to build a new elementary school since 2015, when the district and architects began to hold community forums to establish the needs of the community. After those needs were established, designs began in February 2016, the bond issue was voted on in April and the project went to bid in May. After an estimated $2 million architectural design error that had to do with excavation, site preparation and a change in the physical location of the building in August 2016, value engineering began to trim out expenses to get under budget. That, and some funding assistance led by local foundations, private donors and contributors, finally led to a December groundbreaking. Though construction of the new school building will take all of 2017, the Chillicothe elementary school - which will house preschool, kindergarten and first-grade classes - is expected to be ready by May 2018, just in time to utilize the summer break to settle in.

CAPTION: Local foundation, city and county officials tour the new elementary school building,
after an update presentation by the builders and architects. The 65,000 square-foot facility is expected
to be ready to move in by next summer. The school will open to Pre-K, kindergarten and first-graders in the fall of 2018.
C-T Photo / Jaime Saucedo

On Wednesday, builders gave a progress report of the project to local foundation, city and county officials. The original total project was estimated at $16,811,032. Revenues from bond sales, CMU utilities, the Road Fund and donations came out to $18,022,982, but projected costs for the overall project will end up at $17,755,149. Of that, the new elementary school costs are currently projected at $15,726,532. The overall project consists of several upgrades and renovations at Dewey School, Grand River Technical School, Chillicothe High School, Chillicothe Middle School, Field School and the demolition of Central and Garrison schools.

At Dewey School, the project consists of upgrading the playground and bathrooms in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). That cost is currently projected at $166,925. The playground is under construction now and should be completed next week. The upgrades at Grand River Technical School are all technology based improvements that are currently projected at $292,996. Dean Peyton, a 33-year veteran of the roofing industry, is a volunteer consultant to the district and gave a presentation describing the issues that came about for the high school roof failing and why the new roof would service the school better and longer. In his inspection of the old roof, it was determined that the faulty application was detrimental to the roof. The original roof, which had a 10-year manufacturer's warranty, only guaranteed product and materials and not the application process. With current images from the roof as it is, Peyton covered in great detail specific issues all pertaining to the old roof. With the new roof system, the 20-year manufacturer warranty does, in fact, cover the application. Almost an acre of roof, this project is currently projected at $791,164. At the middle school, a 175-foot hallway connecting the east and west buildings is complete. The hallway is somewhat conditioned with fans and heated for winter. In cold temperatures, the hallway will maintain at about 50-60 degrees, rather than the students walking outside to get from building to building. The hallway has four heat units that are thermostat controlled and energy efficient. They also ran the fiber optic lines through the passage to improve connectivity throughout the buildings. The projected costs for the middle school additions are at $303,672. There are currently plans to improve the parking at the middle school, but that will be a separate project. As for Field School, renovations are yet to be done or even prescribed at this point; and the demolition of Garrison and Central schools will wait until a time more suitable to the needs of the district. But those projections currently hold at $218,860 at Field and $255,000 for all demolition.

After seven months of construction, the structure on site does show the size and scale of the new 65,000 square-foot elementary school. Already visible is the Pre-Kwing that has its own entrance so it can operate independently or as part of the school, the first grade wing and the kindergarten wing that is almost fully enclosed. There is a media center at the heart of the building, to give it a community feel, and as part of the master plan, the site can accommodate a second phase of building that could be for students through 5th grade. The gym will serve as a high wind shelter, able withstand winds up to 150 mph. At that velocity, it should not sustain any damage, and it was master planned to fit, perceivably, all of the students from pre-k to 5th grade after the second phase of the school is built. The new school is expected to be ready to move in furniture by May 2018.

May 17, 2017 - Construction of the new elementary school building is quickly moving along in north Chillicothe. The walls for the gymnasium are up and work has started on the wings for the different grade level classrooms.

C-T Photo

April 26, 2017 - The first wall sections for what will become the gymnasium of the new Chillicothe R-2 elementary school north of the high school were erected Tuesday, April 25. By day's end, 12 sections were erected with 24 more to go. Each wall section measures 10 feet by 31 feet and weighs approximately 24,000 pounds according to project superintendent, Eric Link. The ceiling piece weighs 63,000 pounds. A 275-ton crane is being used in the installation process. Concrete pads for the preschool and kindergarten wings of the school have been poured and the first grade wing is expected to be poured Thursday. The facility is scheduled to be completed by summer 2018.

March 23, 2017 - By JAIME SAUCEDO C-T - Ongoing construction of the new elementary school has benefited from the stretch of weather that Chillicothe has experienced during the winter months. It has been an unusually construction-friendly season, allowing consistent production up to this point of the project. School officials say the build is "on track" and contractors have set an "aggressive construction schedule" going into the spring season. In a project of this magnitude, there are bound to be issues that arise, but Superintendent Dr. Rogers Barnes says that things are going good to date. One issue that arose was a MoDOT requirement for a south bound turning lane onto what will become Coach K Street. There are fiber optic cables running just under the presumed turning lane, and MoDOT specifications will require 500 feet of the fiber optic cable to be lowered another 3 feet below ground. The move will cost an additional $10,000 to correct. Those funds will come from budget money set aside for unforeseen issues just like this and will not affect the scheduled budget. Another issue arose from a section of sewer line and man holes. Five of the man holes and a section of sewer line did not initially pass inspection and had to be corrected by the contractor at no further expense to the school district. Other smaller situations have evolved that have either saved money or exceeded the initial estimates throughout sections of the project.

C-T Photo / Cathrine Stortz Ripley

Those issues have caused the Board of Education to make a change in their approval process. Superintendent Barnes was unanimously granted the authority to give verbal approval of general change orders, up to $50,000 per month, before the board would have to enter into special meetings. "You're our boots on the ground, so to speak," said board member Brent Turner, referring to Barnes' day-to-day interaction with the project. "I think we all trust your judgment and know that you will come to us if there is something that you're not sure about." This decision was made to keep things moving and prevent delays on minor decisions by not having to wait for special board meetings each time something comes up. The next few weeks of the project will begin to show some of the building structure, visible to passersby. On March 28, contractors are scheduled to pour the slab at the building; and by the end of April, sections of the steel structure should be erected. Then, somewhere between April and May, work will begin on assembling the gymnasium. To date, Barnes said that the project is going well, working with the site supervisor, Eric Link. "I can tell them my thoughts, and they share them with the general contractors," said Barnes. "I've been pleased with the process to this point."

March 23, 2017 (C-T) - Chillicothe Municipal Utilities and the city of Chillicothe have entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the Chillicothe R-2 School District relating to utilities for the new elementary school is being built north of the high school. City Council members unanimously approved the agreement during their regular council meeting last week. The city of Chillicothe will provide the funding initially, but the district will pay the city back with interest over a 10-year period. "It is a cooperative contract and has a 10 year reimbursement," stated Robert Cowherd, Chillicothe city attorney. "We are funding it up front, and they are paying the city back over time." The agreement states that the school is building a new building within the city limits and desires to obtain utilities for the building from the city. In order to serve the school with utilities, the school needs to extend the utility mains from the location of the new building to the existing city utility mains. The agreement further states that in order to ensure that the school will be a long-term customer of the city utilities, the city is willing to pay the cost of construction of the extension of the utility mains from the existing mains to the building on the terms of this agreement. The terms state that the city will pay the costs necessary to build and install the mains from the school to the existing mains for costs not to exceed $425,000 without the express prior written consent of the city. The costs paid by the city will be used solely for the purpose of constructing and installing the utility mains from the building to the existing city utility mains. The mains, when constructed, shall be dedicated to the city and become the property of city. The city shall main responsible for the future maintenance. The agreement also states that the city may recover all costs paid by the city with an interest rate of 2.15 percent over 10 years. The school may repay in advance the unpaid amount of the recovered costs in whole or in part at any time without penalty. The agreement also states that the city will be the sole utility provider for water, sewer, and electricity used by the school for a period of 20 years.

March 10, 2017 - Workers at the site of the new elementary school were taking advantage of the good weather on Thursday. It seemed like most vehicles were getting put to work, grading, scraping, piling dirt from what looks to be the new road that will connect the elementary school to high way 65. According to the construction schedule, the steel structure should begin to go up toward the end of March.

C-T Photo / Jaime Saucedo

February 24, 2017 - Dirt work and site preparation are moving along steadily at the new elementary school site off Highway 65 near the high school. Crews are expected to begin foundation work early next week. If they begin on Monday, that will put the school construction on schedule, according to the activities timeline determined last fall.


February 7, 2017 - Plumbing and electrical rough-ins are under way at the site of the new elementary school building. Construction has been steady as of late due to conducive weather conditions. The rough-ins are expected to take 30 working days and are scheduled to be completed by the end of the month.


December 5, 2016 - The official groundbreaking ceremony for the new R2 Chillicothe Elementary School was held on Friday morning, December 2, at 10 a.m., at the building site off highway 65. In his opening statements, Superintendent Dr. Roger Barnes recognized the supporters of the project naming Chillicothe Education Foundation, the Browning Foundation, Hedrick-Lawson Foundation, Mervin W. Jenkins Foundation, Lambert Foundation, Litton Foundation, and the McCall Foundation. The thanks went on to private donors, land and easement from John Hutchinson and Dr. Donald Metry, the Chillicothe Municipal Utilities, the City of Chillicothe and of course the local tax payers.

In a historical moment for Chillicothe, R2 Pre-School students participate in the official ground breaking of the new elementary school.
C-T Photo / Jaime Saucedo

The phase one elementary school project is managed by architect firm, Hollis-Miller Architects, and the general construction firm, Lawhon Construction. The on-site supervisor is Eric Link, and the project is expected to be completed by May 2018. Dr. Barnes pointed out that the first 1st grade class to begin at the new elementary school will be a part of the graduating class of 2030. Though a very large group effort, the elementary school is the biggest accomplishment that Dr. Barnes has been a part of in his six years as Superintendent at the R2 school district. Many of the foundations, donors, and officials tied to the project were on hand for the ground breaking. Even Chillicothe preschoolers were present, with shovels in hand, to officially break ground on the site. Once the project is completed, the Board of Education has plans to continue to renovate and develop improvements to district facilities over a continued number of years.

June 9, 2016 - Another step was taken by the city of Chillicothe toward the reality of a new elementary school and new road from previously-annexed school property to U.S. 65 during a 25-minute public hearing Monday evening, June 6, 2016, in the council chambers of City Hall. Both proposals presented to the full Planning and Zoning board by Chairman Jody Case were unanimously approved on 7-0 votes. The first proposal approved was changing school property to P-1 Public Property that was part of the land where the new school would be constructed and which was recently annexed by the city council. The second proposal given a unanimous vote by the seven-member board was to re-zone property where the new road will be located, from agriculture to C-3 commercial. Both documents will now be forwarded to the city council for approval at the council's June 13 meeting. No one was present to speak for or against either proposal; however, there were some questions asked to two of the property owners who were in attendance at the meeting who own property in the area of the new school. The only testimony presented under oath was by Terry Rumery, of Rumery & Associates, and the city's economic developer. No one was present from the Chillicothe R-2 School District for the public hearing.

City Council Excerpt 05/31/16 - Two voluntary annexation ordinances involving land near the Chillicothe High School were passed Tuesday evening at the Chillicothe City Council meeting. The ordinances annexed into the a tract of land totaling approximately 24.8 acres located north of the Chillicothe city limits along U.S. 65 and a tract totaling approximately 45.5 acres located north of the Chillicothe R-2 school property. These annexation ordinances were passed with 5-0 votes. The owners of the 24.8 acres located north of the Chillicothe city limits are John Hutchinson and Don Metry Jr. Both land owners signed a petition to annex the unincorporated area of land. The owner of the 45.5 acres of land located north of the Chillicothe R-2 school property is the Chillicothe Education Foundation. The foundation verified a petition to annex the unincorporated area of land. A portion of the Chillicothe Education Foundation land will be used to build the new Chillicothe preschool through first grade building which was included in the school bond issue that passed in April. The long-range plan for the Chillicothe R-2 district is to have a one-campus school district with all school buildings located on the CEF property that was officially annexed into the city last night. A portion of the Hutchinson and Metry land will be used to build an access road from U.S. Highway 65 to the school site to help with traffic flow. A public hearing was held concerning the annexations on April 25, 2016, and was continued to May 9, 2016 when it was held by the city council. No written objections to the proposed annexations were filed with the council, and no objections were filed within 14 days after the public hearing. The council determined that the annexations are reasonable and necessary for the proper development of the city and that the city is able to furnish normal municipal services to the area within a reasonable time. The properties were previously zoned by Livingston County as agricultural and such zoning shall continue as the zoning of the land annexed until the proper zoning of the land can be considered as required by state law and city ordinances.

City Council Excerpt 05/09/15 - The Chillicothe City Council conducted two public hearings Monday night regarding voluntary annexations of land near Chillicothe High School. The annexation requests came as the result of the school district's plans to build a new school for preschool, kindergarten and first-grade students. Chillicothe R-2 Superintendent Dr. Rogers Barnes spoke in favor of the annexation. There was no one speaking against the annexation. One property being considered for annexation belongs to the Chillicothe Education Foundation and the other belongs to John Hutchinson and Don Metry Jr. One parcel would be for construction of the building and the other is for an access road leading to the new school. The public has 14 days following the public hearing to provide input regarding the annexation before the council vote on the proposal in two weeks. If the annexation is approved, the issue will be sent to the city's Planning and Zoning Board for zoning designation.

$14.5 Million Bond Issue Passes With 63 Percent Approval
April 6, 2016

CAPTION: Many people in support of Chillicothe R-2 School District's $14.5 million bond issue fill the Livingston County Courthouse lobby to watch as election results are posted. When the final numbers were recorded, the lobby erupted with applause.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

Results of the municipal election started rolling in around 7:15 p.m. Tuesday. Many Chillicothe R-2 school board members, teachers and administrators, as well as members from the Committee for Building a Brighter Future, were at the courthouse watching the results on the big screen as they were revealed. After the final results were posted, many cheered in celebration because the Chillicothe R-2 school bond issue had passed with a 63.09 percent approval.

Overall, the bond issue question received 1,258 "Yes" votes and 736 "No" votes. The election saw a 26 percent voter turnout, with 1,994 of Chillicothe School District's 7,803 registered voters casting ballots. Voters approved the bond issue in an almost steady 2:1 fashion. There were voters from many different wards / townships (plus absentee voters) concerning the school bond issue. The first results to be revealed were the absentee results: 109 (72 percent) voted yes and 42 (28 percent) voted no. Chillicothe Ward 1 had 487 voters out of 1,684 (28.92 percent) and 345 (70.84 percent) vote yes and 142 (29.16 percent) voted no. Chillicothe Ward 2 had 239 voters out of 1,014 (23.57 percent) and 167 (69.87 percent) voted yes and 72 (30.13 percent) voted no. The Chillicothe Ward 3 and 4 had 438 voters out of 2,652 voters (16.52 percent) and 257 (58.68 percent) voted yes and 181 (41.32 percent) voted no. Chillicothe and Rich Hill townships had 379 out of 1,228 voters (30.86 percent) and 189 (49.87 percent) voted yes and 190 (50.13 percent) voted no. The Jackson / Sampsel townships had 153 voters out of 567 (26.98 percent) and had 103 (67.32 percent) voted yes and 50 (32.68 percent) voted no. Blue Mound and Monroe townships had 39 voters out of 161 (24.22 percent) and 26 (66.67 percent) voted yes and 13 (33.33 percent) voted no. The Wheeling township had 49 vote out of 258 voters (18.99 percent) and 26 (53.06 percent) voted yes and 23 (46.94 percent) voted no. There were only two people able to vote on this issue in the Green and Mooresville townships and neither voted. There were 53 out of 208 (25.48 percent) that voted in the Fairview and Grand River townships, and 33 (62.26 percent) of those voters voted yes and 20 (37.74 percent) voted no. There were 6 voters out of 31 (19.35 percent) that voted in the Cream Ridge / Medicine townships and 3 (50 percent) voted yes and 3 (50 percent) voted no. In the end, 63.09 percent voted in favor of the bond issue and 36.91 percent voted against it. The "Yes" vote won every ward and township with the exception of the Chillicothe / Rich Hill townships, in which the "No" vote won by a single vote.

The school bond issue that passed will allow the school district to borrow $14,550,000 and issue general obligation bonds to construct, improve, furnish and equip new and existing school buildings and related facilities. Projects include, but are not limited to: constructing a new building for preschool through first grades on the Chillicothe Education Foundation land near the existing high school, demolishing the existing preschool buildings, replacing the failing roof on the high school, improving heating and air conditioning at Dewey and Field Elementary Schools and at Grand River Technical School, and making improvements for safety and security, including entry improvements at Grand River Technical School and construction of an enclosed corridor connecting the middle school main building to the field house. To achieve these construction plans, those in the Chillicothe school district will see a 37-cent tax increase over the existing debt service levy of $0.5960 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation of real and personal property.

Chillicothe R-2 Superintendent, Dr. Roger Barnes, was there to explain what's the next step. "Now, we'll be working with our architects and also with our bond counsel to get our bond certificates sold," Barnes said. After the bonds are sold, the actual construction can take place.

This election was the first phase of a long-range, multiphase plan to move all pre-kindergarten through eighth grade educational facilities to property owned by the Chillicothe Education Foundation near the existing high school campus.

Excerpt City Council Meeting 02/29/16 - Chillicothe City Council members will have a public hearing to consider distribution of capital improvement sales tax funds at 6 p.m. Monday, March 7, in the council chambers at City Hall. Proposed items include an access road off of U.S. Highway 65 North for the proposed new Chillicothe R-2 school campus, structural repairs to the police station wall, and construction of a new airport hangar that would house the LifeFlight Eagle ambulance helicopter operations. Capital Improvement Sales Tax Fund money is generated though a half-cent city sales tax. Each year, the council conducts a public hearing as to how the funds should be used. The access road to the proposed new school campus is budgeted in part through the city in an amount not to exceed $600,000. The city's portion, if approved, would be $300,000, and would be matched by $300,000 from local foundations. The balance of the cost would be paid for by the Chillicothe R-2 School District. Construction of the road is contingent upon passage of the school's bond issue being presented on the April 5, 2016, ballot.

Forum Attendees Show Support for One-Campus District
December 2, 2015

Last night, nearly 200 people from the community attended the fifth community forum at the Performing Arts Center concerning the long-range building plan for the Chillicothe R-2 school district. At the forum, Superintendent Dr. Roger Barnes and John Brown of Hollis and Miller Architects (which is the architect firm the district has been working with for over a year on developing a long-range plan) presented two options to those in attendance: Option A and Option B.

  • Option A consisted of having two campuses: an elementary campus (preschool through fifth grade) at the existing middle school site and a middle school / high school campus on the Chillicothe Education Foundation's 60 acres where the high school is currently.

  • Option B consisted of having one campus for the entire district (preschool through 12th grade) built on the Chillicothe Education Foundation's 60 acres where the high school is currently. Option B is able to be considered now due to the City of Chillicothe and the Chillicothe Education Foundation paying for a road to be built from U.S. Highway 65, north of Missouri Route 190, to come in just north of the stadium to provide access to a new elementary building.

Those in attendance at last night's forum were able to show support of which plan he or she liked best after both plans were presented. Each attendee was given a green sticky dot to place on which plan he or she liked best as he or she exited the PAC. According to Dr. Barnes, there were 184 green dots for Option B and four dots for Option A. Because of the overwhelming support shown for Option B, Dr. Barnes anticipates that the Chillicothe R-2 Board of Education will pursue the one-campus option. Voting of which option will to be pursued is on the agenda for the December board meeting. "Option B is the better plan because it solves traffic flow issues that cannot be solved with Option A," Dr. Barnes said. He also said Option B has been "a vision for district" for a long time and the beginning steps are finally able to taken to fulfill that vision. Whether or not a one-campus district will become a reality will be voted on by members of the community come April.

City OKs School Request 3-2
By Catherine Stortz Ripley
December 1, 2015

Chillicothe City Council members voted 3-2 to provide partial funding for a new road if Chillicothe School District patrons approve a plan to expand the district at its high school campus in north Chillicothe. The decision was made during the council's regular meeting at City Hall Monday evening. The school district currently is considering two options for a long-range facility plan and either option involves a public vote in April 2016. The school district is hosting a public forum at 6:30 Tuesday at Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center to gather input in determining which proposal to pursue. Now that the city has agreed to pay half of the construction costs for a new road (not to exceed $300,000), the idea of developing a one-campus district is more feasible according to Superintendent Dr. Roger Barnes. The other option the district is considering is to create a middle school facility at the existing Chillicothe High School site on the Chillicothe Education Foundation's land and to create a preschool through fifth grade campus at the current middle school site. Whichever option is decided, either one must be voted on by the school district's patrons. The district plans to present a bond issue to voters in April 2016. If the north campus option is selected and school district patrons approve the ballot measure, the city would provide up to $300,000 from the city's capital improvement fund to build the road. The other half of road funding would come from local foundations. The road would be accessed from U.S. Highway 65, north of Missouri Route 190, and come in just north of the stadium to provide access to a new elementary building. Ed Douglas, president of the Education Foundation, addressed the council prior to the vote as did Chillicothe R-2 Superintendent Dr. Roger Barnes. Douglas summarized the details leading up to the foundation's request for funding and the foundation's desire for a one-campus district. He stated that several other local foundations pledged half of the funding for the road if the city would provide the other half. Barnes stated that developing a one-campus district is the vision for the children and the vision for the city. He said the district has been supportive in the city's economic development efforts in the past and thanked the city for considering the district's request. Prior to the vote, council members explained that the only issue the council was considering was whether to set aside funds to help build the road. Whether a new school is built would be up to Chillicothe School District voters to decide. Councilman-at-Large David Moore, First Ward Councilman Reed Dupy, and Fourth Ward Councilman Paul Howard voted in favor of providing the requested funds; while Second Ward Councilman Wayne Cunningham and Third Ward Councilman Tom Douglas voted against the request. Each councilman stated that he would be voting whether to approve funding in accordance with the telephone calls he received from the public. Each member prefaced their votes by detailing the number of calls he received in favor, in opposition, and as to which ward the callers were from. Following the vote, Alvin Thompson questioned whether the city's capital improvements fund money legally could be used for the project. Moore stated that the city's legal counsel assured the city that it would be a legal use of the fund.

R-2 District, Foundation Ask Council for Financial Support in North Campus Plan
Catherine Stortz Ripley, CT 
November 11, 2015

Chillicothe City Council members are considering a request to help fund construction of a road that could make developing a one-campus school district at the existing high school site a feasible option. The request came from the Chillicothe Educational Foundation with support from the school district. Foundation president Ed Douglas and Chillicothe R-2 School Superintendent Roger Barnes addressed the council during the city's regular meeting Monday evening at City Hall. The foundation asked the city to consider funding one-half of the cost to build a road from U.S. Highway 65 to a facility that could be built north of the stadium to house pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade students. Local foundations, Douglas said, agreed to fund half of the road if the city would provide funding for the other half. The maximum cost was identified at $600,000, and the city's portion would not exceed $300,000. Actual costs could be below that dollar amount, Douglas said.

The school board has been working with architects on a new facility plan for more than a year and anticipates placing a measure on the April 2016 ballot to address building facility needs. Through building evaluations and input from the community, a plan was formed to build a two-campus district: an elementary campus at the current middle school site and a middle school / high school campus at the current high school site. The idea of a one-campus district had been favorable; however, it was ruled out because of the estimated $1.2 million that would be needed to build a road from Highway 65 to Hornet Road to help with traffic flow. "Rather than building a road from Highway 65 to Hornet Drive, we came up with a plan that we could build the building north of the stadium and then have an in-and-out turn around," Douglas said. A stop light would need to be added to Highway 65, approximately halfway between Missouri 190 and the traffic light at the correctional center. Douglas explained that the foundation had been given 15 acres near the high school years ago and had purchased another 45 acres with the idea that pre-kindergarten through 12th grades eventually would be at one location. "Our thought was that when the new high school was built, it would make a great area for a campus over a long period of time," Douglas told the council. "We hired architects to study and determine whether all of the potential school buildings could go into that acreage and we found that they could." Under this most recent proposal, the access point to the new building would be off of Highway 65, so there would be no additional traffic on Hornet Drive. If approved, long-term plans would be to move grades two through five to the campus as well, perhaps around 2031, and then the foundation and district would consider funding for extending the road to Hornet Drive.

In addition to Douglas and Barnes, several other people attended Monday night's meeting, including representatives from community foundations, and property owners who said they would be willing to provide an easement for the road, if that option is pursued. Also present was Tonya Lohman, area engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation. The road would be a city road and maintained by the city. It was noted that when the high school was built, the city paid for half of the costs of Hornet Drive.

Barnes said that he would like for the campus to be located north and that district teachers and building administrators also supported the one-campus concept. He noted that the school district has been supportive of the city's economic development efforts in the past, even when those efforts involved tax abatements and a loss of short-term revenue for the district, and asked that the city support the funding request. The council scheduled a special finance meeting for Monday, November 23, to consider the request. Barnes stated that if the council is willing to grant the request, the district would conduct a public forum on Tuesday, December 1, to further explain the proposal and gather feedback from those attending whether to expand at the current high school site or develop facilities at the existing middle school. Douglas expressed the foundation's desire to support the school district and advocated for one campus. "We will support the school in any direction they want to go," he said. "I do think that it does need to be north. There are so many advantages."

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