You can get a lot done with $14.75 million.
The Windsor C-1 School District went to voters in April 2017 with a lengthy to-do list for a $14.75 million bond issue. The measure garnered 79 percent approval, well above the re¬quired 57.14 percent.
Now, the district reports that the list is done, after completion in August of the new auditorium and entrance at Windsor High School. That combined project was the single biggest item to check off, costing about $2.8 million.
“We came in really under budget on everything,” Superintendent Joel Holland said, leaving some extra money in the till. Some of the leftover funds have been allocated toward ongoing building maintenance, particularly on roof repairs, he said.
“We’ve had some things come up,” Holland said. “You’ve always got roof¬ing needs.”
All five schools in the district had work done under the bond issue. The general contractor was Brockmiller Construction of Farmington.
Windsor Middle School
This school was the first to finish its upgrades, starting with a new double-layered security entrance from Raptor Technologies. The same setup was used to upgrade entrances at the other four district schools. Four science labs have been remodeled at Windsor Middle, much like the lab rooms at the high school that were redone in 2011, and the band room got a complete make-over. New cabinets were added to an art classroom.
“(Windsor Middle) had the least overhaul to do,” Holland said. “Their main thing was the (redone) entrance and (the) four remodeled science labs and a new band room up front, as well.” The labs, he added, were “made more functional for what kids are doing for today’s education in a science classroom.”
This building, which fronts Hwy. 61-67 in Imperial, has 12 new third-grade classrooms that were completed at the end of 2018. The fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms at the IC were built in 2011. The old third-grade classrooms remain and will be devoted to storage and community use.
“We had the one old hallway there (that) we don’t have any plans (for),” Holland said. “There’s not a need for us to demolish any of the (rooms) we have there right now, so we’ll continue to use that. The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have always had rooms there in the older hallway.”
Freer’s $300,000 artificial-turf soccer field was completed last spring and has seen steady use for physical education classes and by Windsor soc¬cer teams.
“I think our youth soccer programs in the area have been practicing there (too),” Holland said. “It’s paid big dividends for us so far. The field is not a full-size field but it is within the (state) guidelines to host games there.”
Holland said he also sees it as a community resource.
“That community over there, to me needed something, or adults or whoever to use. And they’ve done a pretty good job of being respectful of it and taking care of it. We felt it was good for the community to put it there.” As money becomes available in the future, he added, the district will look to add improvements such as grandstands and restroom facilities.
The school itself also now boasts a new and greatly expanded nurse’s office as well as a new conference room.
The new wing at this school has 10 kindergarten classrooms on the ground floor and 10 first-grade classrooms on the upper floor. Principal Denise Funston said the district’s early childhood program eventually will take over the old first-grade classrooms.
“Those classrooms are a bit larger and have their own bathrooms, which is why first grade volunteered to give up those rooms to early childhood as they knew they required bathrooms and would appreciate the larger space,” Funston said.
Besides the new 715-seat auditorium, the high school boasts another signature project, the new $1.7 million baseball/softball complex, the only all-turf diamond in Jefferson County and one of the few in the St. Louis area. Holland said the complex, built in the open area just west of the high school and north of the district’s central office, was modeled after the baseball stadium at Vianney High in Kirkwood, which he said was recognized as the best high school baseball field in North America.
“We were probably about as thorough on this as anything,” he said. “We modeled it directly after (Vianney’s) and then some. (It was based on) the trial-and-error that they went through, and then we tried to expand on that. We tried to do it up right.”
The Owl softball team, a vagabond bunch for many years hosting games at flood-prone fields off campus, played for the first time at their new stadium on Sept. 11, defeating St. Vincent 12-1.
Holland added that the district’s anticipated cost savings on the various projects gave room to budget $235,000 for replacement of the football-field turf, mostly likely next spring, along with a new surface for the track. The turf will have a 20-year lifespan, the same as the new baseball/softball turf. The current field and track were installed in 2011 and the field turf is nearing the end of its 10-year lifespan.
Holland said the district will continue to monitor needs and financial resources.
“We’ll look at bonding capacity, what we qualify for,” he said. “To me, you’ve always got needs in a district and we’ve been very fortunate to have the voter support that we have.”
The top of his list of future needs is a makeover for the Intermediate Center. “It’s a conglomeration (of buildings), really a maze,” he said. The buildings erected in several different decades are “add-ons that don’t make sense in the big scheme of it, from a supervision standpoint. At some point in the future (we want) to get a lot of that cleaned up, so it’s a lot more streamlined (and) efficient.”