Bill’s Electric employees prepare the new lights to be lifted – pole and all – onto their base behind the Cardinal Stadium grandstand.

No longer will there be a bad seats – behind the poles.

R-7 Board locks in $8 million base bid for high school addition

Which alternates, if any, can be chosen later

The Webb City R-7 School Board on Tuesday accepted and locked in the base bid for the voter approved expansion of the high school and renovation of Cardinal Theatre.

Crossland Construction, the construction manager, submitted a base bid of $8,640,547 to build four classrooms, completely redo Cardinal Theatre and connect the high school to Buck Miner Swim Center with a hallway and new entrance to the swim center.

Superintendent Tony Rossetti recommended that the board accept the base bid to lock in all of the subcontractor bids (for base and alternates) and then decide which alternates, if any, to choose later.

The board has the proceeds from an $11 million bond issue to spend on the high school construction and turf-covered practice field, estimated at another $1 million. On April 5, 76% of the voters (1,136-352) approved the bond issue.

The bond issue extended the district’s debt but did not require a tax increase.

In fact, the district’s new tax levy remains the same after a public hearing and board approval.

The total levy is $3.43. Of that, $2.75 is for operations, and $0.68 is to retire debt.

Project updates

There a number of ongoing projects the board received updates on. The turf practice field that’s part of the bond issue funding is already under construction between the softball field and new tennis courts.

The six tennis courts are done, and the lights are installed. Completing the parking lot is all that’s left to do there.

Reconfiguring the former veterans hall to become the Webb City Student Services Center is a little behind schedule. It won’t be completed until Sept. 1.

The new lights for Cardinal Stadium are to be installed next week and working in time for the football jamboree on Aug. 19.

Two lots the district has bought on Broadway across from the junior high practice field have been cleared.

Lots across from the high school on Madison Street have also been purchased and are being cleared as residents move out.

Two more playgrounds will have turf surfaces when school starts.

Additional security measures

The board devoted some discussion time to what more can be done to improve security at the district’s 11 buildings.

During their July meeting, they approved electronic monitors on all outside doors so that there will be an alert in the office if they are unlocked.

This month, they approved the installation of 16 more security cameras by Total Electronics Contracting at a cost up to $17,000.

Asking $100,000 for half block

The board rejected the only bid it received for the half block it owns on North Main Street catercorner from Webster Primary Center.

The vacated property runs 450 feet, from Aylor Street to Cook Street, and is 125 feet deep.

The only bid received, $70,000, is less than the district’s total cost of $84,000 to buy the lots and clear them.

A sign is to be posted on the site asking for $100,000.

‘We need bus drivers!’

An agenda item about extending the lease for a set of school buses led to a discussion of the worsening shortage of bus drivers.

Kevin Cooper, assistant superintendent for business operations, said the district is trying to recruit bus drivers because there are fewer bus drivers than there were at this time last year.

“We will start this year with double routes,” he said, meaning one driver will go on another route after finishing the first. Another partial solution is having some coaches volunteer to drive buses to games.

Five retired teachers coming back

Of the six teaching contracts approved, five are with teachers coming back while they’re retired. They are:

– Russell Ball, counselor and virtual teacher.

– Randall Hayes, high school math.

– Kim Hood, middle school special education.

– Rita Womack, physical education at Eugene Field Elementary and Webster.

– Leanna Lankford, junior high communication arts and social studies.

The sixth contract was for:

– Marshal Miller, sixth grade at the middle school.

Because of the teacher shortage, Kayla Cullers, director of special education, told board members they don’t have much choice but to accept significantly higher rates charged by a speech language pathologist and the agency that educates students who can’t attend a regular classroom.

In other action, the board:

• Received a preliminary report about test scores from Brenten Byrd, associate superintendent for instructional services.

• Received a review of the gifted program from Alicia Zornes, principal of Bess Truman Primary Center.

• Listened to comments from two parents mostly concerned about the district’s handling of bullying and inclusiveness.

• Agreed to switch the district’s graduation business from Balfour to Jostens.

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