Archive for Thursday, July 31, 2003

New Eudora school to open on time, principal says

July 31, 2003

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— The two-thirds majority of Eudora voters who backed a bond issue for a new $16.5 million high school are about to find out what their support bought.

Principal Dale Sample said Wednesday that academic areas of the new Eudora High School should be finished in time for student orientation to begin as scheduled Aug. 19.

"A lot of people are going to be very impressed when they come into the building," he said.

This will be the second time in less than a decade that the Eudora public school district christened a new high school.

Responding to enrollment growth, the district's voters approved a $6 million bond issue for a new high school in 1992. The building opened in 1995 with a capacity of 350 students, but it became clear within a couple of years the district would require a larger facility.

High school enrollment stands at 380, and the district's annual growth consistently ranges between 3 percent and 5 percent.

"We saw it coming," Sample said. "We wanted to get a bigger and better school for those kids."

At the ballot box in November 2001, voters acknowledged the need for a new high school. Sixty-four percent endorsed the plan to issue bonds to finance construction of a high school complex.

"The people were ready. They were very much excited about education in Eudora," Sample said.

The new high school can be expanded to accommodate up to 1,200 students, he said.

The school board also moved to alleviate crowding elsewhere in the district by reassigning students.

Here's the new plan:

  • Eudora High School, grades nine through 12, as before. They'll vacate the "old" high school, which underwent renovation for use by middle school students.
  • Eudora Middle School, grades six through eight. Sixth-graders will be added to the mix as seventh- and eighth-grade pupils move from the junior high building downtown to the old high school.
  • Eudora West Elementary School, grades three through five. It previously served grades four to six.
  • Nottingham Elementary School, preschool through second grade. It had been a K-3 building.

Sample said the new high school's gymnasium wouldn't be finished in time to be used by the volleyball team in August. That will require games be played at the middle school's gym.

Construction workers continue to swarm the site, but David Lassiter of Manning Prosser Wilburt Construction assured the school board recently that crews were putting in 10-hour days to speed progress.

"It's exciting and hectic," Sample said. "We're on our way."

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