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Marshall school board gets introduction to proposed upper elementary school design (UPDATE: 1:40 p.m.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Marshall school board saw preliminary designs for a proposed 74,500-square-foot upper elementary school building at its Tuesday, July 21, meeting. The $14.5 million facility would host grades three through five.
The Marshall Board of Education saw the preliminary design of a proposed new upper elementary school building and additions to two existing elementary schools at its Tuesday, July 21, regular meeting.

Two representatives of ACI Frangkiser Hutchens, an architectural design firm, presented the plans and provided an overview of the facities' features.

Michael G. Kautz said the design of the new building was informed by discussions with district staff, and Superintendent Craig Noah said the initial design "is everything everybody wanted."

Kautz reviewed features of the nearly 74,500-square-foot building and answered board members' questions, one of which, from Cindy Brandt, was, "Can you do it cheaper?"

Architect's drawings presented to the Marshall school board Tuesday, July 21, show a proposed addition to Benton Elementary School. The project, if a bond issue is approved by voters, would also include installing new heating and air conditioning systems in the original 1922-vintage building.
(Eric Crump/Democrat-News)
The estimated price tag for the upper elementary building is $14.5 million and the total for the project, including additions to Benton and Northwest elementary schools, would be almost $18.5 million.

Kautz said the price tag could be reduced, suggesting the district would have to decide what to give up to do so.

Other questions from the board ranged from types of materials to be used, type of roof and whether the design accounted for expanding the building in the future.

A photo of the architect's drawings shows a proposed extension on the north side of Northwest Elementary School. The project is being considered by the Marshall school board and would be paid for with a bond issue the board could put before voters in November.
(Eric Crump/Democrat-News)
Kautz said some of the finer details would be determined after the election if the bond issue is approved by voters.

But he did describe the layout of the three projects. He noted that classrooms in the upper elementary building would be about 800 square feet. Classrooms in the Northwest expansion would be about 900 square feet to maintain consistency with existing classrooms.

The Benton and Northwest additions would replace modular units currently used by both schools and could include five new classrooms. The Northwest addition would also include a music/art room.

The addition of the upper elementary building would mean the remaining elementary buildings could be used for kindergarten through second grade classes, returning them to the role of "neighborhood schools," according to Noah.

At $2.3 million, the Benton expansion would be more expensive than the Northwest expansion, estimated to cost about $1.8 million. Kautz explained that the plans for Benton include installation of new heating and air conditioning systems throughout the existing building and addition of a parking lot in space left open by the removal of the modular unit.

Following the architects' presentation, the board decided to begin the process of selecting a construction management firm.

A committee formed to do the initial review of proposals. Noah, board President Larry Godsey and members Kathy Green and Teri Wright will meet this week to select three firms to interview.

The full board will meet Tuesday, July 28, to interview the firms selected by the committee.

In closed session, the board accepted the resignation of Maria Hutchinson, sixth grade teacher, and approved the employment of Tim Washington, assistant wrestling coach; Theresa Girtens, Eastwood focus room monitor and freshman girls basketball coach; and Julie Hieronymus, sixth grade teacher.

In addition to Brandt, board members Mark Gooden, Kathy Green, Sherrie Stouffer, Anita Wright, Teri Wright and President Larry Godsey were in attendance.

The next regular board meeting will be Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Contact Eric Crump at marshalleditor@socket.net

Related stories:
5 sites under consideration for new school, district plans to form community advisory committee for bond issue:
Marshall school board on the hunt again for new school:

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Taurus 13,

Have you been to the high school in the past several years? Just because a building is new doesn't mean it is not without problems. For instance, the high school does not have enough classrooms to adequately support its staff and student population. Teachers share classrooms, there is a trailor outside with two classrooms, most core classes are over maximum size limit, the science and computer labs are too small and shared by mulitiple teachers... the list goes on. Where do you suggest the 8th grade students, teachers, curriculum materials, and equipment be located at the high school? There is available space at the high school that could be used more effectively. This is something that should be looked at by our administration.

We do have a beautiful sports complex that provides the students with a variety of activites that builds character and dedication. Having these facilities at our school means the students are not traveling all over for practice and games. The money charged at the gates is used to pay for the officials, scorekeepers, supervisiors, etc. instead of the school budget. The Booster Club takes much of the concession stand earnings and purchases uniforms, supplies, equipment, and anything that is needed for the school. People come from other school districts every year to look at our high school and it's sports complex.

What good would it do to tear up the baseball field and tennis courts that were built with hard earned money by the team members, parents, and donations, just to move them to another location on the high school campus? Plus the expense of rebuilding them. It doesn't make sense at all.

-- Posted by rubyred on Mon, Aug 3, 2009, at 12:00 AM

The only way to get a yes vote out of me and several persons that I have talked to on the subject is to include K-8 and only have two campuses in town.

I agree it is time to build a new campus, but don't ask for another in 5 to ten years if this one isn't done right and that is what I see happening. Do it right and the votes will be there.

-- Posted by litlmissme on Sun, Aug 2, 2009, at 11:34 AM

The buildings may not be falling down but when they are close to 100 years old any repairs are just bandaids. I have a feeling that the reason we are looking at a 3-5 campus is two reasons. One the fifth grade is currently taught in trailers!!! Number two Map testing starts in 3rd grade. With the problems we have had with kids not preforming well on the test frome 3-5 why not put those kids in a building where the teachers can work together better and any problems that might occur (cheating) can be caught right away.

As for the court case going on, I am pretty sure that most of that will be paid from by some kind of insurance, kind of like doctor's have malpractice insurance.

The two elementary building that are being talked about being added onto have the space on their ground to do that. They are also going to be neighborhood schools.

Yes this will cost money, but it is for the education of our kids. Plus as it was stated before, big companies are not going to come to Marshall and offer jobs because our schools are not safe, and they are small!!!!

-- Posted by snorkel on Tue, Jul 28, 2009, at 5:19 PM

People wake up! Our buildings are not falling apart. Go look at some other buildings in other communities to see school buildings falling apart! After weeks of residents voicing concerns about tearing down houses, what makes tearing down well maintained brick buildings any better?

Marshall has it pretty good when it comes to our buildings. Some of you just can't see it! If we build a building, let's get Grades 5 & 6 out of Bueker so they can still be kids at recess or whatever that particular period is called! Better yet, let's see how the economy or the "accused" teacher's appeal affects the school budget! And most important, let's get decent edible lunches for our kids. The buildings are the least of our problems right now!

-- Posted by farmer'sgranddaughter on Tue, Jul 28, 2009, at 12:01 AM

What happen to the elementary campus idea....The campus would hold K-8. Is that idea gone now and we are settling for one new building for just three grades?

-- Posted by Taurus13 on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 9:45 PM

I don't understand why we would want to sink more money into some of the older schools. If we're going to do this, do it right. Get two new buildings, a K-2 and 3-5 building. The cost is amazing though. 6 years ago when we had the last bond issue, the price tag was 13 million for 2 new buildings and the purchase of land. How come now it's 14.5 million for just one building and another 4 to remodel two other old buildings? Also, it seemed to me like the classrooms in the new building aren't as big as the current classrooms. The size of the current classrooms was supposedly to small and a big reason why new schools were needed.

-- Posted by Reader101 on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 7:16 PM

I don't understand why they are willing to build a building for just 3-5 grades and add on to other old buildings when all the schools are falling apart. Just a waste of money.....What happened to the elementary campus idea. What they need to do is tear down all the old schools and build one building for grades either K-8 or K-7. Put eighth grade in the high school for pre-high school studies.

Just a waste of money....if they are going to throw the money away then just give the money to someone else or another town who would use it right.

-- Posted by Taurus13 on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 9:35 AM

Judgmental, I think the middle school holds so many sentiments for those who attended high school there. I know that all came up before when there was talk of starting there. People are attached to the auditorium. It is apparently the largest venue in town for seated activities. I'm more than willing to start there and I went to high school there. At any rate, we have got to start somewhere!!!!! We need a plan for replacing these old buildings, folks. It's wild that four school buildings were all built within a few years of each other in the 20's. Replacing them becomes an immediate problem because they all seem to have the same problems.

-- Posted by oneofmany on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 10:47 AM

Big3fan, I can't imagine that the space at the high school is large enough for a 3-5 complex, playgrounds plus parking. Also, it is less than desirable to sandwich it in between the mall that is falling in and the high school. The high school/vocational area needs to be preserved for their needs. Who knows how education will change in the future? No one envisioned the vocational school concept or alternative high school concept at one time and it certainly is necessary now. It would be a shame to use that space for an elementary building and find out later it was needed for high school expansion. If we ever build this thing, it needs to be done right. It's got to last us, apparently, more than 80 years!

-- Posted by oneofmany on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 10:40 AM

Jebbs, the "rich" kids don't get all the awards and roles in plays. (Since you put rich in quotes I'm assuming you don't really mean rich.) I did a search through the DN to find names of kids who were honored at Achievement Night. Trust me, very few of them were monetarily "rich". I've been to several plays and I frankly can't recall any roles played by "rich" kids. Have you been in our schools? Have you talked to teachers? I'm telling you, the fat has been cut! Some departments are almost anorexic. The new administration has been very frugal. It's time, folks. Let's stop putting good money after bad. It's time.

-- Posted by oneofmany on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 10:26 AM

It seems to me that the building in the most need of replacing is the middle school. I can't understand why they don't start there. There is mold growing on the desks. It was old when I went to school there.

Does anyone else agree?

-- Posted by judgmental bast*** on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 8:22 AM

One of many...Thanks for the link. I have been in favor of a new building all along, but I guess I missed that article the first time around. I think it is a MUST READ for anyone concerned about the cost. As far as the bad rap the district gets, keep in mind that you can't believe everything you hear, especially in this town. Speculation is often taken as fact - If you don't know the facts - take what you hear with a grain of salt. I agree with born-n-raised - I am tired of my tax dollars patching the problems our existing buildings have. Lets buck up and build a new building and make a good investment in our children. And if you want new businesses to come, then we need to pull together as a community and BE a community. It's not just the schools that can make or break the decision of a company to settle here - It has a lot to do with the quality of the community and the people in it. Lets pull together and show that we, as a community, can do something positive for our kids!

-- Posted by outsidelookin'in on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 7:37 AM

It was said thst Sedalia got a big business because a new school was built. Wow I am impressed that they looked at the building and decided to move into town. When are people going to realize that it is the teachers and administrators that make a quality education and not buildings. All of my children went to Marshall schools their entire school career and I will tell you that I was ecstatic when my last child graduated. I knew that I would never have to deal with administrators that closed their eyes to what is happening in the district and teachers that were blatant in their favortism. While they were just average students in Marshall they went on to excel at college because of the difference in the way they were treated by teachers. It is amazing to me that the children of the "rich" people in town always get all of the awards and get to act in all of the plays. In Marshall money equals smart and opportunities. It is even more amazing that some of these same kids that did so well in Marshall school system could not cut it in college. It is those kids that are really at a disadvantage.

Everyone keeps talking about the current schools needing to be replaced and can't be repaired adequately, etc... but isn't part of the proposal to use the current schools for K - 2. Did I miss something? I work in social services and for years we have had budget cuts to the point that we can't adequately meet the needs of the poorest of the poor. We have had to trim the fat out of the budget and have had to do away with necessities. Trim all of the fat and the unnessary people from the school budget and then I will think about voting for new schools, but not until then.

-- Posted by jebbs on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 7:34 AM

oneofmany. I don't have a real strong opinion yet as to which way I would vote at this time. What I am against, is spending foolishly or needlessly. I have to be honest, I expected a bit more response to my suggestion. I don't think that moving the athletic fields would be as expensive as a new piece of property.

I have been a sports fan all my life, and have been to many of the schools in the district that MHS plays in. We can be proud that we have one of the finest athletic complex, even better than many small colleges. So I say this with some regret that I believe we have tried to be involved in so many sports, and that maybe the talent of the youth playing these sports has been spread too thin. I'm not suggesting that we cut any of our sports programs! Sorry, I got off track.

What I am suggesting is that we take a look at the property that we already have and see if it is feasible to use before we buy somewhere else. I know that many of you reading this are far more intelligent than I, so what does it hurt to take a look. I hope I don't offend anybody by thinking out loud.

Please feel free to add ideas so that we can solve this need for our children together.

-- Posted by big3fan_62 on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 1:04 AM

Tito and Big3fan, your ideas would be challenged by many teachers in the district. Search out teachers and bounce your ideas off of them. I think you would be surprised at what they would say in response to your comments.

That said, and correct me if I'm wrong, I think a few years back, we were going to get two buildings for less than the cost of what one would cost now. Folks, this is not ever going to be cheaper. There are reasons this is being pursued now. This link gives information about why they are looking into this at this time.


I went back and re-read this story, and it cleared up a lot of questions. It's time, past time really. Our archaic buildings have been patched and patched. We need a plan for replacement and this is a start.

As for the comments about Marshall's reputation, let's just say, there are problems in every district, in every place of employment. It certainly does not mean the entire district or business is lacking in character. We're blessed to have such dedicated teachers who care about our kids. Look at the big picture, people.

-- Posted by oneofmany on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 11:28 PM

Hey folks as far as that lawsuit is concerned the school district has an umbrella liability policy that should take care of that litigation.

-- Posted by movaldude on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 11:15 PM

Hey House & Born n

You are correct. Marshall NEEDS a lot of NEW if we are going to attract new businesses. We could start with the new elementary school and then how about a new middle school. How about making the new schools "green" How about constructing them in a more energy efficient or even self sufficient basis. We need to quit putting duck tape on these old buildings. Before long we will have to build a building because there won't be anything but duck tape.

I'm not worried about attracting a factory business. How about attracting businesses that hire only college graduates or masters. We need more professionals to move into our town. People who make six figures. Those individuals would be glad to move into our town if there were more educational opportunities for their children.

How about we go to a county-wide school district eleminate the small school districts. It was discussed back in the early seventies (1970's). I'm a product of those smaller school districts and believe you me the education you receive there is second class. It takes a year or more to catch up in college to get where you need to be when you enroll in college. If we went to a county wide school district then we would not need as many administrators and support staff. There would be so much more for children besides what is offered in the small country schools.

If we could get more of the expensive farm ground on the tax rolls in the Marshall district maybe we could build the building with cash. Like the Ambulance district did with their new building.

Hey that is my two cents worth.

-- Posted by movaldude on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 11:11 PM

It is understandable to be concerned when a figure as high as 18 million is thrown around and the taxpayers will be responsible for picking up the tab, but the reality is, that cost will only get higher as the years go by. There is no cheaper time then now to build. Three years ago it would have been even cheaper. No argument.

As for the condition of the current schools, it isn't an easy lipstick makeover to repair what's wrong. Some putty, carpeting and paint will not repair crumbling walls, sinking foundations, classrooms that are too small and outdated air and heating systems. It's not a simple fix that will get another 75 to 100 years out of those buildings. Face it, there is a NEED for a new elementary campus. This is not a WANT issue, it is a NEED issue.

As for cuts, you ask to reduce secretary positions, principal positions etc? Are you mad? Now can there be some cuts? Sure. How about a football program or that swim program? Hey what about the speech and debate program? Or better yet, let's encourage excercise and let's cut out the transporation! Come on people. You use KC and their job cuts as a point of interest. However those cuts came primarily due to a severe reduction in district populations. Less students = less need for all those teachers. You mentioned what is happening in California. Again, come on. California is not Missouri. We have some common sense and they have another actor as the Governor of a bankrupt state. Lats time I checked, Missouri is NOT California.

It is a fact that big business looks at a town's school system when it considers moving into it. A GREAT example of this is just 30 mile South of here. Sedalia bickered for years about building a new high school and they finally got it passed and are almost finished building the new H.S. As a result, a big business, Pro Energy and it's affiliates, have agreed to move into the city and they are now settled and continue to expand. That COULD be Marshall in a few years!

We have to pull together to improve the status quo if we are to ever improve our children's education opportunities and improve our communities. We ALL have to get this done. Let's pull together and do this.

-- Posted by Greg House on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 10:15 PM

Tito, well said.

Get rid of the extras, Marshall school district.

When you trim your budget like so many families are having to do nowdays with their own personal budgets, then I will vote 'yes'. If I don't see this happening, you won't get my vote.

-- Posted by Dawson16 on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 8:53 PM

How much money becomes too much to put into hundred year old+ buildings? The elementary schools are shameful, yet we continue to pour money into patching them up. In the long run, it will be more economical to replace these decrepit buildings. I agree that there are many ways that this school district can cut costs, and that needs to happen NOW; however, I'm sick of my tax paying dollars going into fixing buildings that are inadequate. Have any of you naysayers been in these buildings in the past 30 years?! Honestly, how could anyone say that these buildings are okay? They are an embarrassment.

Another very important thing to consider, is how our schools appear to the various industries that the town has tried to attract. No major industry has chosen to move into this area in a VERY long time. Schools are a "make it or break it" point to major industries, because employees and their families like to live in communities with good schools. (Clearly, the 18-hole golf course that tax payers overwhelmingly approved wasn't incentive enough to bring in new industry.) With the Hab Center (formerly the largest employer in the county) doing some serious downsizing, Marshall needs to attract new industry more than ever.

C'mon people, it's time to quit denying that these buildings are awful and accept that no amount of putty and paint is going to fix the problems. These buildings are shameful, and there is no cheaper time to replace them than now. Every year the price will continue to grow. When will the time ever be right?

-- Posted by born-n-raised on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 8:01 PM

I think the start of school needs to be pushed back till the tuesday after labor day.The state fair was moved up a week and now schools start during fair. Dont they look ahead and see that it might interfer with contest and show that include the students across the state?Oh and then there wont be a need to let school out early cause its too hot to ride the busses or the need to have the a/c running harder during the school day.

-- Posted by arojr on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 6:12 PM
Response by Kathy Fairchild/Staff writer:
We have a story in the works on this subject right now, and hope to publish Thursday or Friday.

Marshall teachers are the highest paid teachers in the area, student transportation with the many buses & crazy routes cost a mint, and who knows what the admnistrators and the illogical use of assistant adminstrators cost the district each year, plus FACT the upcoming lawsuit concerning the ex Eastwood teachers. Should'nt the so called people in charge start by trimming the fat before proposing a new school? Just 2 years ago everyone was crying poor when it came to the school and Supt.Gordon was fired!

Wake up the days of instant gratification are over and that is why our country is seeing hard economic times. KC and the rest of the nation are cutting teachers just to balance school's yearly operating budgets. 100 teachers will not have jobs in KC this fall. I bet they would come to Marshall and work for less! I do not want to even talk about what is happening in California with the schools....hard times!

Does Marshall have an unlimited amount of wealth to draw upon? I have not heard of any booming employment opportunities for the masses? This is why I moved several years ago because as someone said earlier it is the SAME FAMILIES or people who think they are someone running everyone elses lives. I would like to see some of these big fish's credit reports!

Again instant gratification is over ....update the buildings you have, turn them into neighborhood schools, look at different but feasible bus routes, trim the fat and go back to 2 principals between the elementary buildings, and get rid of all of the so called assistant administrators / secretaries sitting over at central office and make people earn what they are paid instead of walking around looking important while doing nothing......One assistant administrator could pay for 2 1/2 teachers or 4 paras!!!! CUT the FLUFF, save money , then consider building a new school........... And for those of you who say you want better for your children walk through a Marshall elementary classroom and then one of the neighboring districts......You do have BETTER compared to MANY other local districts. Be THANKFUL for what you have..............during these hard economic times!

-- Posted by Tito on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 5:11 PM



-- Posted by 1OFTHEGALS on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 3:17 PM


-- Posted by 1OFTHEGALS on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 1:20 PM

The space at the high school between the parking lot and the football field could be big enough for the tennis courts, perhaps?

-- Posted by big3fan_62 on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 1:15 PM

Has anybody thought of moving the high school tennis courts and baseball fields to the area west of the high school. This area is currently where the football team practices. I know of other schools that the football teams practice on the same field that they play on. If space is an issue, move the soccer field and let those young people play on the football field as well, or even on the north side of the high school. We seem to be thinking that we need a new piece of property for a school. Why don't we use the space that we have more efficiently. I would think that by saving money on a piece of property you could be creative with your scheduling as far as traffic in the parking lots. Eastwood, Benton, and Northwest are all on large lots, could we not be more creative and build there if needed? Just thinking outloud!

-- Posted by big3fan_62 on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 1:12 PM

just read the caption of the photo, and it says the new school would consist of 3rd through 5th graders. what about K through 2? staying in the old schools? kinda defeats the purpose of building a new school doesn't it?

-- Posted by aikman8 on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 12:56 PM
Response by Eric Crump/Editor:
The fuller version of the story (which I'll post in a minute) addresses that. Benton and NW would be K, 1, and 2 schools, and would return to being neighborhood schools, according to Superintendent Craig Noah.

i don't get it - if they're wanting to build a new elementary school, why are they also wanting to expand benton and northwest?

and how much did our fine board of education pay for this preliminary design? not sure about you, but i'm getting the feeling that this whole thing is going to try to be ramrodded down our throats again.

-- Posted by aikman8 on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 12:54 PM

As a fourth generation of my family in this town......I think it is time to move. This place is still about the have and have nots and nothing will ever change. We all know who pulls the purse strings in this county and that will never change as long as some people keep reproducing. But to be a big fish in this town is all some can ever hope for. MY KIDS DESERVE BETTER!!!!!

-- Posted by IPOH on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 10:43 AM

What part of "NO" don't ya'll understand!!!

-- Posted by Takealoadoff on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 9:20 AM


-- Posted by 1OFTHEGALS on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 8:59 AM

Here we go again HOW MANY TIMES DOES IT TAKE TO GET THRU TO YOU. Marshall can not afford to be like K.C. ,Col etc. We have turned down these type of proposals. Marshall continues to want the neighborhood school enviroment. Not some massive conglomerant. When is the school board going to listen to the Tax Payers? Many people are losing there jobs, homes and cars etc. Why do we want to go further into DEBT?

-- Posted by auntmeme3401 on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 8:19 AM

I may have missed a story about this somewhere. Where is the building supposed to be built?

If that has not been decided, shouldn't it be before choosing a construction firm?


-- Posted by circuitrider on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 7:43 AM
Response by Eric Crump/Editor:
I don't think the site has been selected yet.

I know the economy is bad, and I really can't afford to pay any more in taxes either. But it's not about me - it's about the kids and having facility's that are safe for them to be in. Plus, if you look at the big picture, new buildings would be more energy efficient and actually save the district money. Maybe not to the tune of 18 mil, but it would save some. I know the district doesn't have the best reputation, but I also know that my child has gotten a great education. Poor choices by a few in the district should not be the excuse to not provide the best for our kids and grandkids. I encourage everyone to step outside their own box and vote for the bond issue. Do it for the kids!!!!!

-- Posted by outsidelookin'in on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 7:23 AM

Again... With the economic times the way they are do we really need to spend all this money on new school. Tack on the fact that Marshall Public Schools doesn't have the best reputation right now in the publics eye.

-- Posted by glock123 on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 11:17 PM

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