Superintendent gives Next Step Project updates

Staff Reports
File - Neosho Middle School signage pictured. In a recent roundup of activities, Superintendent Dr. Jim Cummings said the district plans to have broken ground on a Middle School Safe Room.

Progress as promised. The Neosho School District continues to move forward with Next Step Projects throughout the district.

In a recent roundup of activities, Superintendent Dr. Jim Cummings said there is exciting progress to share with the community. By the time this publishes, the district plans to have broken ground on the Middle School Safe Room.

The district plans to provide more information on the project in the near future. The 5400-square-foot facility will serve the district beyond just a storm shelter. The open room, that can be divided into two spaces with a divider curtain, will provide a multi-purpose space for the middle school students and staff, and also provide the district with much-needed professional development training space. This space should be available for the start of the 2021-22 school year, according to Cummings.

Cummings said within the next few weeks the bids will be accumulated for the end zone facility at Bob Anderson Stadium. Design has been completed and final bid documents are being created. The target date for completion of the project is September 2021.

The performing arts center design has been approved. Construction documents are in development.

“As we move this project forward, we are also working with Sapp Design, MODOT, engineers, Branco, FEMA, the Corp of Engineers and the City of Neosho to develop the necessary infrastructure for watershed and rerouting Hill Street,” he said.” Progress is being made towards an economical solution that will meet the expectations of all groups. This would also be a good place to thank the City of Neosho for their willingness to work with us on these projects.We appreciate our relationship with them.”

Most recently, the city worked with the district on some code issues that will allow them to move forward with the construction timeframe while they work on changes to the city codes.

The baseball field is getting closer to having the playing surface installed. The field will be ready for spring baseball. The resurfacing of the track, not related to the Next Step projects, is still a go, but now weather is creating an issue.

“We are working on getting our upgraded surveillance system in place at the stadium. In the near future, we will provide information on how community members can get key cards in order to gain access to the track,” Cummings said.” We were hoping to wrap up the track work and roll out the new access plan when all was finalized. However, we know many patrons are missing being able to walk at the track. So, we are going to go to open it up until the resurface begins. We will then shut it back down for a few weeks.”

The Benton Safe Room is designed. The district is waiting for and we will continue FEMA to announce their awards in February or March. If awarded the FEMA grant, the district will receive approximately $1.8M to apply to the construction of the Benton facility.

The funding for these projects comes from the passage of the levy increase ($22M plus interest income), FEMA proceeds, district reserves and fundraising opportunities. The overall cost of the projects will be in excess of $30 million.

Cummings said opportunities to participate in these projects via naming rights and other donor options will be shared with the community in the coming weeks.