Proposition Keep Improving Seneca Schools (KIDS) is a major item on the April 3 election ballot for residents of the Seneca School District.
The passage of this bond issue would include the construction of an athletic complex north of town, performing arts improvements made to the old gym at the high school, a safe room at the agriculture building for AG students and staff members in the administration building, and the possibility of getting a FEMA building at the junior high school.
The bond issue would also result in a $0.15 tax increase to the residents of Seneca.
The improvements made to the old gym at the high school would transform the gym to a performing arts center when needed.
“We really want to improve the experience of a spectator coming to see a play or drama event, as well and band events,” said Dr. Jim Cummins, Seneca superintendent of schools.
“It sends the message that we are invested in our programs because they are important.”
The old gymnasium is currently used for junior varsity games, freshmen games, PE, drama class, and plays.
If passed, the remodeled gym would be able to be used by the jazz band, choir, drama, show choir, concert choir, and junior high jazz band.
“We would add visual equipment for different types of lighting, acoustic treatments for the sound, and retractable seating to give it more of a theater feel, if the bond issue passes,” said Cummins.
The estimated cost for the performing arts center improvements would range from $150,000 to $200,000.
“The gym is really outdated, and doesn’t work for the groups that need it,” said Cummins. “Seating doesn’t work well for plays and the sound and lighting hasn’t been updated in several years.”
In addition to the students being able to use the gym, the gym is open to local patrons if they reserve it, so the remodel would service more than just the students.
“The neat thing about the improvements that we are looking at is that it doesn’t take away the multipurpose aspect,” said Cummins. “With the retractable seating, it can still be used a multipurpose room for games, theater, PE, and band.”
There are also a few small things the district is hoping to get done with the bond issue money.
“We would love to get a safe room like the early childhood has for our AG students and the people at central office,” said Cummins.
“Seventy-seven students funnel through the AG building during the day, and if something happens we want to make sure they will be safe.”
The district is also looking into possibly working with FEMA to get a storm shelter for the junior high school.
“We may be looking at something like Joplin has,” said Cummins.
All together, the bond issue total is roughly $4 million, but the district is looking into fundraising another million to cover all expenses.
“We are looking at possible donations of naming rights to help raise that extra million,” said Cummins.
“We really encourage you all to vote, and help out our schools and the future of our kids.”