Wright City R-II school district approves master plan with projects through 2034

By John Rohlf, Record Correspondent
Posted 2/13/24

The Wright City R-II board of education approved the plan that includes changes to East and West Elementary Schools.

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Wright City R-II school district approves master plan with projects through 2034


The Wright City R-II Board of Education unanimously approved the district’s master plan at its January meeting. 

The master plan was approved on a 7-0 vote by the board. The master plan outlines potential projects from 2023-2024 to 2033-2034. Any item in the master plan still will need to be approved by the board at the appropriate time. 

Dr. Chris Berger and members of the board stressed the plan can change as the district knows more about their financial situation in the future. 

“I’ll just repeat again for public clarification that as we approve the plan tonight, all the individual steps that we see here, we will approve those individually,” board member Beth Dean said. “We are simply approving the plan itself. And that we have some direction that will kind of guide us in the years to come.” 

Berger thinks there could be significant changes to the plan “sooner than later.” He cited the possibility of growth in Assessed Valuations that they have seen the past couple of years.” 

Multiple action steps recommended in the master plan were approved by the board at last month’s meeting. The board approved changing their Wednesday early out to a Monday late start to help teachers maximize collaboration time. They also approved moving fifth grade to the middle school, which will help with projected capacity challenges at West Elementary. Without the change, West Elementary was expected to experience capacity challenges in the 2026-2027 school year. 

The district also expects to add four rooms to East Elementary. The second four room addition will complete the district’s intent to add eight total rooms to East Elementary. The funds became available when the district received a grant to provide preschool. 

The master plan proposes a no tax increase bond issue in April 2025 for the performance gymnasium. 

The master plan does not recommend any additional steps until the 2029-2030 school year, when the plan proposes renovating the old high school to become their new middle school. The projected budget for this project is $24 million. This is a change from the district’s plan they proposed prior to construction of the new high school, when the plan was to demolish the high school. 

Berger said the cost of renovating the building versus demolishing the building led to the change in recommendation. Back in 2021, the estimated cost for renovation was $174 per square foot and the cost of new construction was $229 per square foot. The cost to demolish the building was $19 per square foot. The cost projections in 2023 for renovations were $133-$230 per square foot and the cost for new construction was $362 per square foot. The cost for demolition in 2023 was $27 per square foot. 

Berger stressed the district still has the option to demolish the building and construct a new building if money is available. 

“The plan may ultimately be to demo it,” Berger said. “I think leaving it up just gives you that opportunity to renovate it at that point because certainly if you have the resources, level that booger and put a new one up. I mean, it’s always better. But you can do anything, you can renovate anything with money…”

The master plan outlines a projected no tax increase bond issue in 2033-2034 for phase two of the Wright City High School project, the Wright City athletic complex artificial turf, performing arts and a FEMA storm shelter between the current West Elementary and the current middle school building, which is proposed to serve as an additional elementary school. The projected no tax increase bonding capacity is over $21.8 million. 

Berger stressed the master plan was put together with conservative financial projections. 

“This is the fiscally conservative plan that I think is doable,” Berger said. “And I really do feel like you’re gonna have better options on the table than what I’m putting out here. But this makes it doable.”

wright city, r ii, master plan, school, improvement