Grain Valley Schools Community,
We are working to keep pace with the growth that we are experiencing at Grain Valley High School. Our school district has placed a school bond issue on the ballot for the April 7, 2020 election. This is a $14.5 million dollar bond issue to complete Phase 5 at Grain Valley High School, which focuses on expanding instructional space for our performing arts programs.
Phase 5 includes:
Black Box Theater
Renovations to the Jerry Mueller Performing Arts Center
The arts are very important to us in Grain Valley, and this phase of work will provide more space that is suitable for students to receive instruction, practice their craft, and share their talents with our community. Although not every high school student is involved in the performing arts programs, when our growing performing arts programs have more space designated for their program needs, more space is available for other instruction and extra-curricular programs too.
Having created the masterplan as the result of community input back in 2012, we are past the halfway mark to realizing a high school with a capacity to hold up to 1600 students (400 per grade level) with the wider corridors and the infrastructure, parking, and activity spaces for a high school that size. This year we have 1,352 high school students and grade levels that range from 299 (seniors) to 367 (freshmen class).
Back in 2018, a bond issue passed for Phase 4 that led to a new media center, student counseling center, health room center, courtyard space, and school offices at the high school. A school bond issue passed by voters in 2019 led to the final build-out of North Middle School, a project that will be completed within a few weeks.
You may be asking, “Why not just build a second high school?” In 2012, when we had just over 900 students at the high school, the feedback we received at public meetings was solidly opposed to opening a second high school too soon, resulting in two smaller high schools instead of one high school with as many as 1600 students. There may come a time in our future when a second high school is needed, but those discussions are not likely to happen for years to come.
We anticipate at least two to three more phases of new construction to Grain Valley High School in the coming years, plus renovations to the original section of the school and the creation of a second commons area just south of the courtyard. Some phases may be more exciting than others, but each is an important step towards the completion of the full project.
The completion of Phase 5 and relocation of the band and choir instructional spaces will make room for a larger second competition gymnasium in a later phase of the long-range masterplan. The new gymnasium is not included in Phase 5, but Phase 5 makes room for it in a later addition.
Other needs we anticipate as a district in the future are to address overcrowding and the need for repairs to our district administrative office building. These offices have been housed in a converted home on Pink Hill Road built in 1956 and acquired by our school district in 2004. Addressing district administrative office needs are not a part of this April 7, 2020 school bond issue.
The next school need we anticipate is a fifth elementary school, but that is not expected for at least five to ten years.
Passage of this bond issue does not require raising the district’s debt service tax levy rate. In passing a bond issue, the community gives us permission to borrow the funds needed for capital improvements, such as classroom additions and equipment. We are not borrowing more than we can afford to pay back using our current debt service tax levy rate.
More information is available under the DISTRICT tab of our website at GrainValleySchools.org. Please call us at (816) 847-5006 or e-mail us at email@example.com if you have any questions. We hope you vote on April 7.
Dr. Marc Snow
Superintendent, Grain Valley Schools