Blair Oaks school district seeking new high school

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WARDSVILLE - The Blair Oaks school board is considering options for a new high school by the 2018-19 school year.

Superintendent Jim Jones said conservative estimates show a new high school would cost about $15 million, Currently, the district is permitted to request a $9.5 million from the public in 2016. 

Jones said the bond capacity increases by about $3.5 million per year, which would allow Blair Oaks to request the bond issue from the public by 2018 or 2019.

"At this point, we can continue to add class rooms on to the current buildings that we have," Jones said. "What that doesn't do though is increase the size of infrastructures that exist such as your libraries, cafeterias, commons, gymnasiums, some of the common shared spaces, you can't make the hallways wider."

Jones said increasing enrollment is creating an urgent need for another building.

For 2015, the entire district has 1,172 students. Jones said that is up from 592 in 2000. At Blair Oaks high school alone, there are about 480 students, and Jones said the building was designed to hold 200.

"We're one of the fastest growing school districts in the state of Missouri. That creates some challenge, but it also creates some opportunity," Jones said.

In the 2011-12 school year, the school district purchased 25 acres of land near Blair Oaks middle school. The school board said the land will eventually be the location of the new high school.

Jones said, "We want to, again, make sure those short terms answers are our long-term solution."

The district has talked to a local architecture company to create potential plans for a new high school.

Jones said, if the proposal passes in the next few years, Blair Oaks will consolidate its schools to use the existing buildings to house fewer grade levels. There are currently three schools in the district. One school houses grades K-4, another 5-8 and another 9-12.