Carthage School District Holds Public Meeting on Proposed Performing Arts Center | Local News

CARTHAGE, Mo. – Superintendent Mark Baker will discuss plans to build a new Performing Arts Center on the Carthage High School campus during a town hall meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 28 at the R- Auditorium 9 of Carthage.

The meeting will be a final push by the school district to inform residents of an $18 million bond issue that would fund construction of the performing arts center.

Voters will go to the polls on Tuesday August 2 to decide the fate of the bond issue, which requires a four-sevenths majority vote, or 57.1%, to pass. If approved, the bond issue would extend the district’s 83-cent property tax on debt service by two years.

Baker said the 40-year-old auditorium no longer meets student needs. He said the district could teach students better with a $20 million performing arts center on the Carthage High School campus.

Baker said the new auditorium would have 1,200 seats compared to 800 in the old auditorium.

Classrooms planned to be part of the performing arts center would make the new building different from an auditorium, he said. Separate classrooms and storage areas for orchestra, choir and theater programs would be built at the rear of the auditorium, giving each class direct access to the stage.

“An auditorium is a room where the event takes place,” Baker said during a May 25 meeting about the bond issue. “A performing arts center takes everything into consideration: your classrooms, your workshops, all rolled into one. You have the auditorium and you have everything that goes into the auditorium—it’s a performing arts center. It’s more than just a room. »

He said the district plans to raise $2 million in private donations to outfit the building and its classrooms.

The performing arts center, if approved, would be the latest upgrade and new construction in the Carthage School District.

The 2010 meetings identified several priorities for the district, including additional classroom space for elementary students, an early childhood center, elementary school tornado shelters, a new football stadium, an addition to the Carthage Tech Center and performing arts center.

The district addressed many of these priorities between 2010 and 2019:

The need for classroom space was tackled in 2014 with an extension of the district’s 83-cent debt-service tax that raised $18 million to pay for the construction of the Carthage Midtown Center on Fir and Chapel Roads, and the reconstruction of the former Carthage Middle School on River and Centennial Streets into present-day Carthage Junior High.

The early childhood center was built on Fairview Avenue with federal funds, grants, and private donations.

tornado shelters in each of the five elementary schools were completed in 2015 using a special exemption passed by the Missouri Legislature to allow the district to make a one-time transfer of more of its operating funds than normal into its capital expenditure fund. These shelters are used as extra classroom space in each building when not in use as shelters.

David Haffner Stadium was completed in 2017 and paid for by a 10-year, 40-cent increase in the district’s $2.75 operating property tax, approved by voters in 2015. This 40-cent tax will expire in 2025, reducing the tax to $2.75 and reducing the total Carthage school property tax levy from $3.98 per $100 of property assessment to $3.58.

In 2019, a new series of public meetings were held to determine priorities for the district beyond 2020. The main unmet priorities at that time, officials decided, were additions and renovations to buildings in Carthage. Tech Center and performing arts center.

The technical center’s needs were met when 2020 voters approved another extension of the Debt Service Levy from 2034 to 2040 to borrow $10 million to double the space of the South Carthage Technical Center and renovate the North Carthage technical center to host programs for adults.