In a long-range plan that began with safe rooms for several elementary schools, the Neosho School District plans to place a tax levy increase on the April 7 ballot. The capital improvements, if approved by voters, will include a performing arts center at Neosho High School, field house and locker room upgrades at Bob Anderson Stadium along with safe rooms at Benton Elementary and the Neosho Middle School. The cost is expected to be approximately 22 million dollars.

In a special board meeting held on Monday, the board of education discussed the possible improvements and planned to meet again later in the week to set funding details, ballot language and the exact amount of the tax increase.

The proposed performing arts center is the largest of the items. Sapp Design Associates preliminary plan calls for the performing arts center to be build on the northern end of the high school campus. The facility would offer 1500 seats, a major increase over the 320 seats in the high school's present auditorium. The center would also include classrooms, rehearsal space and areas for workshops for band, choir and theater classes. The cost is estimated at approximately $13.4 million for the performing arts center.

The exact location of the proposed new field house, which would replace facilities in use since the 1950's, has not been determined although two sites are under consideration. If placed between the stadium and the high school, construction would prove challenging because of the hilly terrain. The other possible site at the present baseball field would require upgrades for the baseball/softball, resulting in additional expense.

A public input meeting was also held this week, asking patrons to share their hopes for the district.

The board plans to interview construction firms and a construction manager at the January 21 board meeting. All proposed designs are preliminary and may be changed prior to the bond levy.