Community asked for input on facilities plan during Oct. 24 open house
Community asked for input on facilities plan during Oct. 24 open house
Monday, October 10, 2016
Parents, students, staff and community members are invited to attend a Facilities Open House on Oct. 24 to review details on a new proposed facilities plan for the district and provide feedback and suggestions. The open house will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Holman Middle School. Participants are welcome to drop in at any time during the open house.

Pattonville routinely updates its facilities plan every five or six years to ensure its facilities are optimal for student learning. The district last updated its plan in 2010. In spring 2016, Pattonville facilities personnel and staff from construction management firm SM Wilson met with principals at each school to review their needs and develop cost estimates for a new facilities plan. GRP Mechanical also reviewed all buildings for HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and lighting needs.

District officials have also been working with early childhood staff and Bond Architects to study the feasibility of converting the former Briar Crest Elementary School into an early childhood center. Briar Crest was closed in 2012 due to budget constraints and elementary students redistricted into other existing buildings. Converting the school into an early childhood center would enable preschool classes at Pattonville's elementary schools to be housed in one location with existing staff and free up elementary classroom space across the district. The early childhood program is funded by a combination of state/federal grants and tuition fees and provides services for students ages 3 through 5, including children with disabilities.

Based on these preliminary meetings, an initial list of $30 million worth of projects has been identified across the district. Pattonville will work over the next few months to identify up to $20 million in immediate needs that could be funded by a zero-tax-rate increase bond issue, the amount of bonds Pattonville is able issue to raise funds for construction projects without increasing its debt service tax rate. As promised to voters during bond issues in 2006 and 2010, Pattonville has maintained its debt service levy - the portion of its tax rate that can only be used for paying off bond issue debt - at 49 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Other steps in finalizing the new facilities plan include convening the Pattonville CSIP (Comprehensive School Improvement Plan) Steering Committee and School Improvement Teams (SITs) at each school to review the initial list and provide feedback. The SITs will also elicit feedback from other parents and staff. SITs are building-level committees made up of half staff and half parents, community members and students who work together to improve their individual schools. The Pattonville Board of Education will ultimately decide on approving the new facilities plan and how to fund it.