School district discusses athletic complex

The possibility of an athletic complex coming to the Seneca School District may be something citizens of Seneca see happening in the future.

During the school board meeting on March 16, members approved an action item allowing an architect design company called Paragon to move forward on the possibility of work being done at the early childhood center/bus barn, as well as the idea of an athletic complex.

“I have been talking with Paragon about the possibility of expanding the early childhood center, and what an athletic complex on the school farm would like,” said Dr. Jim Cummins, Seneca superintendent of schools.

The expansion of the early childhood center would add two full-time teachers and have potential of adding 40 more children.

“This would be something really great for the early childhood as a whole,” said Cummins.

In approving the work on the early childhood center to move forward, board members also approved work on an athletic complex to move forward.

“We, as a board, have talked several times about building a track, but building a whole athletic complex would be a great use of our school farm,” said Cummins.

The school district owns 51-52 acres of land on Highway U, north of Seneca, and allows the city to use it for its Fourth of July celebration. The high school’s cross country team also uses it for their trail, and the ag department uses it, but other than that, the property is very “under-used” by the district, said Cummins.

Paragon also gave a proposal about a layout plan for the new learning center that will be moving to the high school, but the board decided that the work can be done in-house by district staff.

Other items covered in the school board meeting include:

• The board approved a bid for new equipment for the high school weight room.

“No one knows exactly how long it has been since we bought new equipment, but it has been a very long time,” said Cummins.

The new weight room equipment will include racks, bars, medicine balls, weights, and benches. The bid total was $31,387 and the funds for that will come out of the 2017-18 budget and be offset by budget reductions in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 athletic budgets.

“This is an outstanding start to getting our weight room back on track of being updated, and it also gets rid of some safety issues we have had with the old equipment,” said Cummins.

• The school board signed a contract with Magnify Learning, a program that does the Project Based Learning (PBL) program that two classes in the third grade and two in the fifth grade are using.

“It was a contract to use them for our training as we develop more teachers, as well as train teachers who currently do PBL and to get others involved,” said Cummins.

• The board also approved a resolution about charter school expansion just stating that they, as a board, oppose charter school expansion.

“We are just taking a stance against the bill that’s going through the House (of Representatives),” said Cummins.

According to Cummins, charter schools have not been very successful in Missouri and the board does not believe they should be creating more.

• The board approved Total Electronics Contracting to do some fiber work to move the servers from the high school into a secure room in the safe room.

“In order to do that we have to run fiber from the safe room to the high school, and we are looking at just under $6,000 for this project,” said Cummins.

By Mattie Link

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