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ASHLAND - Construction is still finishing up on schools in the Southern Boone County school district, but the school board is already looking forward to its next projects.

The board held a special meeting Wednesday night to discuss bond issues for the next ten years, starting with one planned for April 2018. That issue includes a proposed $2.2 million gym at the elementary school.

The current gym shares space with the cafeteria.

"We are struggling to have enough room for all the P.E. classes and still get kids fed," Superintendent Chris Felmlee said.

Southern Boone Elementary Principal Amy James agrees, saying, "We have 18 sections of classes that need special classes like art, music and P.E. Because of that, we are just cramped with this situation. Setting up for lunch takes time, taking down for lunch takes time. Between that and the P.E. classes, we are running right up until the bell almost trying to fit everything in."

James said the school's wellness policy requires at least 20 minutes for students to eat.

"We are just barely in that time frame right now," James said. "And that's including kids getting in line, sitting down to eat and putting their tray up in that 20 minutes. We are talking about third and fourth graders. That's not enough time for our little ones to eat."

Felmlee said Wednesday's meeting is the third special session scheduled to discuss April 2018's bond issues.

James said she appreciates the board's focus on making sure tax dollars are used efficiently.

"We have a school board that takes a lot of pride in education," James said. "We want to make sure we are using the money the best way we can, and their main focus has always been education. I feel this gym will be at the forefront of their considerations."

Felmlee said, as the community of Ashland continues to grow, the school district must grow with it.

"We are focused on getting new classrooms right now," Felmlee said. "We've been growing pretty steadily the past few years and we need to plan for that."

The school board scheduled an additional special session to be held on Sept. 27 before it makes a decision on the bond issue.

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