Springfield (KMTR) - The Springfield School District will wrap up a handful of projects this summer to improve some of their schools. The projects will use up the remaining money from a bond measure approved by voters in 2006.
Since that time, the district has built two new schools—Maple and Thurston Elementary Schools—and has been working to extend the life of its other buildings. Ten schools have gotten new roofs; others have received new siding, flooring and windows, as well new heating systems.
This summer, Briggs Middle School will receive a new boiler. Many schools have received new technology, such as ceiling-mounted projectors and the district has improved student safety with new fencing that directs anyone entering a school to go through the office.
Spokesman Jeff DeFranco says the school district has worked hard to spend the $42.7 million in bond money wisely, stretching those dollars as far as possible.
“One way we've stretched our dollars is all our middle schools have key card technology and security cameras,” DeFranco says. “We were able to pay for the key card system with bond funds and then the security cameras we’re providing through matching dollars from the Department of Justice. But again, it would not have been possible to get those matching dollars without first investing our upfront bond dollars.”
Through matching grants and investment earnings, the district has been able to secure about $7 million more for improvement projects.
But the school district is facing future challenges. It still has 10 buildings that are 40 years old or older. With state-mandated full-time kindergarten set to begin in 2015, and growing enrollment in southeast Springfield, the district will likely be compelled to consider a future bond measure to handle the additional needs.