Proposed Houston High School unveiled

A new high school for the Houston School District will incorporate a traditional look that will blend with other elements on campus.

The decision comes after public forums, committee meetings and discussions with school officials. Another forum with patrons is planned next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Houston High School cafeteria. The district invited all patrons to attend.

A similar ballot issue a year ago was defeated by only a couple of votes.

Ultimately, voters will decide the issue on April 7. The bulk of the financial package requires no additional taxes: A $5 million bond issue would not require any increase in the levy in that the current one would support it due to a favorable rate environment. Local residents would have the opportunity to invest in the tax-exempt bonds. A second component – for remodeling – may come from federal stimulus funding. The third element is a $2.5 million lease-purchase agreement that would require an increase of 43 cents per $100 assessed valuation. A residential property owner who lives in an $80,000 house would pay about $5 more a month in property taxes.

Under the design plan developed by Sapp Design Associates in Springfield, the new high school, which faces south, would connect with Hiett Gymnasium on the site of what is the unused fine arts building. Its exterior incorporates style elements of the district’s first high school. Additional classroom space, computer and science laboratories, a cafeteria and library would result in the two-story structure.

The current library also would be renovated, as would space in the current high school that would be used by middle school students.

Library resources on the campus have come under fire by the state during assessments of the district. About 2,000 square feet are allocated for library needs – about 4,400 square feet below minimum standards set by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for a district the size of Houston.

The addition of another cafeteria would eliminate the need for shifts, where grades six through 12 now eat from 10:45 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Learn more about the project and what went into its planning in a video appearing at and on the Herald’s information channel seen on cable channel 7. Watch for dates and times for the TV schedule.

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