Feb 23, 2021 12:41 AM

St. Joseph School Board gives OK for administration to start negotiating site for proposed new high school

Posted Feb 23, 2021 12:41 AM
The St. Joseph School District board of education met in late January and approved a $107 million bond issue that goes before voters in April. The bond would mean the construction of a new high school in St. Joseph. Photo by Tommy Rezac.
The St. Joseph School District board of education met in late January and approved a $107 million bond issue that goes before voters in April. The bond would mean the construction of a new high school in St. Joseph. Photo by Tommy Rezac.

By WHITNEE ICE and TOMMY REZAC

St. Joseph Post

The St. Joseph School District's Board of Education has given approval for administration to start negotiating with American Family Insurance for the purchase of its Regional Headquarters just south of the Missouri Western campus as the proposed site for a new high school.

St. Joseph Schools superintendent Doug Van Zyl says the community still has the final decision and its the school boards job to help educate the community about their options.

"Well really what has to take place now is just the negotiation and finalization of the contract and everything is contingent upon the bond passing on April 6th," says Zyl. "If the community passes that then the contact can be fulfilled and we'll be able to move forward. If it doesn't, we have negotiated a contract that won't be able to be fulfilled because the bond won't have passed."

The buildings, located at 4802 Mitchell Avenue in St. Joseph, has been designated as a candidate for sale or lease.

The final agreement is contingent upon the passage of the $107 million bond issue and successful contract negotiations. The bond goes before voters on the April 6 ballot.

The district is in the early stages of negotiations, according to a press release.

The St. Joseph School Board has laid out and approved a proposal to convert Benton and Lafayette High Schools into middle schools, and build one, new high school.

St. Joseph Schools superintendent Doug Van Zyl says the new alignment would allow the district to create a better feeder system, which would keep classes together from elementary school through middle school and then on to high school.

"I think the biggest thing to know is, I think the board and the administration has tried to listen to what the community has said to be efficient, effective with tax dollars, to utilize the facilities to the best of our ability, and here we have another facility in the community that can meet our needs and rather than not taking advantage of it, we're exploring the opportunity and how it can best benefit us and how it can best benefit the community," says Zyl.

The $107 million bond issue goes before voters April 6.