Osage County R-II breaks ground on new elementary school

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OSAGE COUNTY - Out with the old, in with the new.

Osage County R-II School District broke ground on a new elementary school Monday to replace the current Linn Elementary.

Superintendent Shawn Poyser said the new school will be bigger, about 62,000 square feet, with 25 classrooms, state-of-the-art technology labs and a library. He also said the school will be built to expand.

"We've set it up where we are going to easily build on for future growth," Poyser said.

He also said the current elementary building is 75 years old and in need of renovations.

However, it would have cost $5 million to fix the current building, a price Poyser said wasn't worth it for such an old building.

The new building is in a safer location for students coming to school.

The current elementary school is located right off Highway 50, which Poyser said gets busy with traffic and is dangerous because most of the students walk to school.

The new school will be built near the middle school and high school, which are both located off Route CC, about 2 miles down the road from the current elementary school.

Poyser said it will be nice to have all the schools and activity centers in one location.

"Everything on one campus will be a lot more safer, secure," Poyser said. "Our facilities will be the 21st century, our technology, all the upgrades we can do for our kids out there will be tremendous."

Along with the new elementary school, construction will soon start on a new gym, and crews will renovate and expand the district's agriculture and art buildings.

Poyser said the money to build and renovate these buildings comes from a $7.34 million bond the community passed last year.

He added that construction on the elementary school is set to start in about two weeks, and the plan is to have the school finished by late April or early May 2016 for summer school classes.

"I would love to, best case scenario, have summer school," Poyser said. "End of May, June 1, something like that in 2016. If it all goes well, that's what we would like to do."

Poyser said the district has several options about what to do with the current building once the new school is built, but there are no confirmed plans yet.