Carthage School District seeks $18 million bond

The Carthage School District is seeking an $18 million bond issue to help expand classroom space.
A public forum was held earlier tonight at Carthage High School.
Enrollment at Carthage Schools is growing.
“We don’t want to get in a situation where we have 35 kids or more in a class,” said Blaine Henningsen, Superintendent of Carthage R-9 School District. “We’re not there yet. We’re trying to be proactive and head this off.”
That is why the district is asking voters to approve the $18 million bond. $12 million of which will fund the construction of a new intermediate center for 4th and 5th graders on property the district already owns near the intersection of Fir Road and Chapel Road.
“We’re trying to utilize what we have available to us without going out and having to purchase some additional property,” Henningsen said.
The remaining $6 million would go towards renovations at the current Carthage Middle School.
“We’ll add 10 classrooms there, we’ll add a new media center, a new cafeteria, and a 2nd gymnasium with a tornado safe area,” he said.
The Carthage Middle School currently serves as a 5th and 6th grade center, but it would be transformed into the new junior high for 7th and 8th grade. The old junior high building would become a 6th grade center.
Some nearby residents fear construction and traffic could be an issue, so an additional stoplight will be put in.
“It’s really congested and backed up all the way down the road everyday, so I think the stop light is going to be beneficial in keeping some of that under control,” said Keri Carnes, Carthage resident.
School officials say the bond will not raise anyone’s taxes.
“It’s very similar to if you had a home equity loan on your own property,” said Lee Elliff Pound, President of Carthage R-9 School District. “When you get to a certain point and you’ve built equity into that property, then you can take more out and you can improve your properties.”
“We’ll just extend that loan for 8 more years and get this new project completed,” Henningsen said.
The project is expected to take around 2 or 3 years to complete.
This bond issue is the second phase of a series of improvements on which the district is working.
Phase one was the early childhood center, which is currently under construction.
Phase three would involve renovations to the football and baseball stadiums and other facilities.