By MARK EVANS
Dr. Julie Flieg, superintendent of Ste. Genevieve RE-II Schools, presented a long-range facility plan at the Oct. 19 board of education meeting.
The 44-page report was put together by district communications director Bailey Otto.
“This looks fantastic,” Flieg said. “She did a great job of looking at a variety of other school districts’ plans and kind of taking all the great ideas from each one and putting it together.”
The plan covers building an early childhood center, replacing heating/air conditioning (HVAC), plus addressing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) issues as well as doing gym and office work at Ste. Genevieve Elementary,
Flieg said the “driving question” behind the plan was “what facility improvement projects should be completed to insure that all Ste. Gen. R-II students have access to safe, quality learning environments?”
She called the plan a “fluid framework of facilities development.”
It was a very large task,” Flieg noted. Seven sub-committees were set up to provide input. They began work in January 2020. Things were slowed down by COVID-19. A district-wide sub-committee worked on the project March to July of 2021. Eight things arose. District and federal funds will be used and a bond issue will be looked into.
Early childhood space was flagged as the top priority. The early childhood center would incorporate the current early childhood program, the preschool program, the district’s parents-as-teachers program, and perhaps also kindergarten.
“We do have an issue, trying to find the location,” Flieg said.
She noted that space could be found on both the Bloomsdale and Ste. Genevieve campuses, but that it would be ideal to find land along Highway 61 and building it between the two towns.
“Early childhood came to the top that we really need to do something and address the issue,” Flieg said – especially since finding childcare is becoming increasingly difficult.
Ste. Genevieve Elementary, meanwhile needs HVAC work, a bigger entry way with office space and a bigger gym. There is also the ADA situation.
“If you try to go in the front of Ste. Genevieve Elementary, you’re dealing with steps, and our parents in wheelchairs and who have trouble with stairs can’t enter through the front of that building,” Flieg said.
The gym, meanwhile, is too small for the entire school to hold an assembly.
The middle school, the original part of which opened in 1936 as the high school, also has ADA concerns.
“We have students in wheelchairs who never see the top floor of the middle school because there is no elevator in the original part of that old building,” Flieg said.
Adding an elevator that would hit all three floors, including the annex basement, is the goal there.
Space for nurses and counselors’ offices and HVAC work.
Bloomsdale Elementary badly needs a heat pump, a double-gated entry and a lagoon.
At the high school, a new gym to be used as a practice gym, with a weight room underneath it would be desirable. Fields like Yanks Field, owned by the school, need some improvements, as well.
High school restrooms are “pretty dated,” in Flieg’s words, while the card-readers on the door locks are out of date and it is becoming hard to find parts for them. New doors will be required if the card system is changed.
The plan includes five-year, 10-year and 15-year items the district would like to tackle.
Some of the items were on previous bond issue lists, but were dropped.
Flieg said she hopes to run a bond issue in the spring. She said the district’s bonding capacity “is quite large,” probably $210 million or so, since it hasn’t done a bond issue since 2014.
She said it would be “a no tax increase” situation.