The no-tax bond issue would be used to replace Daniel Boone Elementary School.
The Warren County R-III Board of Education unanimously approved a motion last week to proceed with a 2024 bond issue for construction of a new elementary school.
The board voted 7-0 to use a no tax increase bond issue to build an elementary school on property the district owns north of Insterstate 70, pending funding availability. The district’s plan, if an April 2024 bond issue is approved, is to move Daniel Boone Elementary from its current site to the new building. The current Daniel Boone Elementary building would be used for early childhood.
The three elementary schools in the district — Daniel Boone, Rebecca Boone and Warrior Ridge — have a combined six classrooms available between the schools. There is no classroom space available at early childhood.
“There’s no additional classroom space at early childhood,” Warren County R-III School District Superintendent Dr. Gregg Klinginsmith said. “Daniel Boone has three, Rebecca Boone has two and Warrior Ridge has one. And that one classroom’s being used by the Youth in Need Pre-K program… So if we go up in enrollment, we’d have to cut the Pre-K program in those buildings.”
Klinginsmith noted the district is expecting to see growth in the near future. There are 572 living units under construction in the district boundary, with another 339 new living units approved. While the district has only seen an increase in enrollment of 45 students from the 2018-2019 school year to the 2022-2023 school year, Klinginsmith believes the district will see growth soon.
“It’s been pretty steady,” Klinginsmith said. “We’re not seeing a big jump in enrollment but we’re seeing houses coming up. So right now, the need isn’t here today but I think it will be soon.”
If approved, the district will construct the new elementary school on 29 acres of property they own on North 47. The property is large enough to house a 90,000 square foot elementary school, which is the size of Warrior Ridge Elementary. The projected cost of the building is $31.5 million to $36 million, assuming a cost of $350 to $400 per square foot.
Klinginsmith said the district is projected to have $37.5 million available for the no tax increase bond. The district is projected to have $10 million available in each of June 2024, January 2025 and June 2027. They are projected to have an additional $7.5 million available in January 2028.
“This is what we anticipate but after assessments come out in August, we’ll know a lot better picture of what our actual bonding looks like, the financing behind that,” Klinginsmith said. “But we could do $37.5 million.”
Klinginsmith noted this will be a multi year project. He stressed the district could go up to $40 million no tax increase if assessments come in high. They will have to see where the number is and how the bonds roll out the next four to five years.
The board toured Wabash Elementary School in Wentzville in May. Wabash utilizes the same company that the district is looking at using for construction of the building. Board treasurer Jeff Schneider noted despite being constructed six years ago, the building is already full.
“The mindset of growth,” Schneider said. “Not comparing us to Wentzville by any means from a growth perspective, but when that day comes and I think we all know it’s going to come whether it’s five years, 10 years, 40 years down the road right, I don’t think we can be too proactive to plan for it and plan for growth. Because we see the houses, we see the additional subdivisions.”
Schneider also referenced the age of the current Daniel Boone elementary building.
Board Vice President Sarah Janes stressed previous board discussions about expanding their Pre-K program through a potential bond. She thinks the current plan hits on expanding the Pre-K program by housing them in a larger building and also anticipates growth through construction of a brand new elementary school, which the district can expand upon in the future if the need arises.