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Decision brings smiles

By Chance Chamberlain

The virtual meeting of the Harrisonville School Board on Jan. 19 took on a lighter tone when Superintendent Paul
Mensching brought what he said was great news from the Harrisonville Board of Aldermen.


Mensching said, “This is hot off the press, but the meeting with the city went well and they will waive the inspection
and construction fees for our upcoming bond projects. The agreement will be reviewed quarterly by the city as well.”


The construction projects are funded by the voter-approved Proposition N which was promised a no-tax-increase bond issue for $22,700,000 to provide funds to meet needs within the district. The proposal was approved in June of last year.

Projects will improve safety and security, replace roofs and HVAC units, improve technology and playgrounds and other various repairs and improvements identified in the district’s facility needs assessment. The bond projects have been organized by building in phases with the first projects beginning at the Cass Career Center, the Harrisonville Early Childhood Center, Harrisonville Middle School and Harrisonville Elementary School, according to Mensching.

“We are opening the bid process the beginning of February and we expect construction to begin in mid-to-late-February. According to the construction management team at Newkirk Novak, phase one construction projects should be finished by August,” he said.


Alongside funding from Proposition N, Cass Career Center received grant money from the CARES Act which will add a practical nursing lab with four patient rooms and a conference space. According to Mensching, it will be the first project to
break ground.


“The project within the nursing program at the CCC is funded by the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund as part of the CARES Act and the funds have to be allocated for the project between June 30, 2020 and June 30, 2021. It will be under a stricter timeline because of the specifications of the grant,” Mensching said.

Renovations and improvements at Harrisonville High School are included in phase two of the construction process and details regarding the projects will be announced at a later date.

Discussions were held regarding repairs to the surface of the track and retaining wall at Memorial Stadium and Mensching
said the district is actively weighing its options.


“We are looking at repairing the track and have spoken to many vendors regarding products for that, but at this time the bidding process has not begun. Essentially, this project would entail removing the rubber surfacing, analyzing the asphalt below, repairing what needs it and reapplying the surface layer.

“The retaining wall on the south side of the stadium grandstand has experienced some water issues and engineers looked at
it and assured us that it’s in better shape than we originally thought, which will save us money.


“Basically, the project would require a minimal amount of concrete to be removed and additional drainage to be added,” he said.

Earlier in the meeting, it was discussed that the Walmart Distribution Center will not renew the pilot payments to the school
district established in a tax abatement when the distribution center was established 20 years ago according to Mensching.


“The agreement expired after 20 years and the Walmart corporation didn’t seek to renew the pilot.
“If they would have looked at renewal, they would have had to add new territory or equipment, but they chose to do other-
wise. The distribution center will be on standard city tax rules for the first time,” he said.


Money received from Walmart via the pilot were placed into a general fund for capital improvement, according to Mensching.


In-person enrollment has increased across all grades in the second semester according to the 2020-21 enrollment report. At ECC, there are 122 students in-person and 23 virtual, at HES there are 388 students in person and 50 virtual, at McEowen there are 279 students in person and 61 virtual, HMS has 413 in person students and 108 virtual and HHS has 662 in-person students and 120 virtual.


The biggest difference in the number of students attending class in person comes at HHS where the number of virtual stu-
dents fell from 201 in December, to 120 in January.


Mensching said the number of students in the classroom is a positive, but the choice is ultimately up to the parents.


“We have a higher number of students in person this semester in comparison to the last semester and it has been our goal
to keep students in the classroom, but the decision to send students to school is the choice of the parents.


“We are happy to see the amount of trust parents have in our faculty and staff to keep their children safe during session,” he said.

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