Elementary Campus

To follow the progress of the campus construction, visit the City of Chillicothe's website here >>

March 9, 2017 - Workers at the site of the new elementary school were taking advantage of the good weather on Thursday. It seemed like most vehicles were getting put to work, grading, scraping, piling dirt from what looks to be the new road that will connect the elementary school to Highway 65. According to the construction schedule, the steel structure should begin to go up toward the end of March.

C-T Photo / Jaime Saucedo

Serving Generations to Come
Groundbreaking at the Site of the New Elementary School
December 2, 2016

The official groundbreaking ceremony for the new R2 Chillicothe Elementary School was held on Friday morning. December 2, 2016, at 10 a.m., at the building site off highway 65. In his opening statements, Superintendent Dr. Roger Barnes, recognized the supporters of the project naming Chillicothe Education Foundation, the Browning Foundation, Hedrick-Lawson Foundation, Mervin w. Jenkins Foundation, Lambert Foundation, Litton Foundation, and the McCall Foundation. The thanks went on to private donors, land and easement from John Hutchinson and Dr. Donald Metry, the Chillicothe Municipal Utilities, the City of Chillicothe and of course the local tax payers.

In a historical moment for Chillicothe, R2 Pre-School students participate in the official ground breaking of the new elementary school.
The "first phase", as it is being called, is expected to be completed in May of 2018.
C-T Photos / Jaime Saucedo 

The phase one elementary school project is managed by architect firm, Hollis-Miller Architects, and the general construction firm, Lawhon Construction. The on-site supervisor is Eric Link and the project is expected to be completed by May 2018.

Dr. Barnes asked the question, "Where will you be in the year 2030?" Pointing out that the first 1st graders to begin at the new elementary school, will be a part of the graduating class of 2030.

Though a very large group effort, the elementary school is the biggest accomplishment that Dr. Barnes has been a part of, in his six years as Superintendent at the R2 school district. "It is indeed an honor and a privilege to be here today," said Dr. Barnes, "This new school supports the foundation of public education that will serve our community for generations to come."

Many of the foundations, donors, and officials tied to the project were on hand for the ground breaking. The $14.55 million project, approved by a 63 percent vote, is lead by Hollis-Miller Architects and Lawhon Construction, and will include renovation to Dewey and Field Schools, repairs to the roof of the high school, demolition of Central, Garrison, Pink House and two vacant residential properties owned by the district by Pink House, and the phase one construction of the new elementary school.

At the groundbreaking,  even Chillicothe preschoolers were present, with shovels in hand, to officially break ground on the site. Once the project is completed, the Board of Education has plans to continue to renovate and develop improvements to district facilities, over a continued number of years.

C-T Photo / Jaime Saucedo

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June 9, 2016 - Another step was taken by the city of Chillicothe toward the reality of a new elementary school and new road from previously-annexed school property to U.S. 65 during a 25-minute public hearing Monday evening, June 6, 2016, in the council chambers of City Hall. Both proposals presented to the full Planning and Zoning board by Chairman Jody Case were unanimously approved on 7-0 votes. The first proposal approved was changing school property to P-1 Public Property that was part of the land where the new school would be constructed and which was recently annexed by the city council. The second proposal given a unanimous vote by the seven-member board was to re-zone property where the new road will be located, from agriculture to C-3 commercial. Both documents will now be forwarded to the city council for approval at the council's June 13 meeting. No one was present to speak for or against either proposal; however, there were some questions asked to two of the property owners who were in attendance at the meeting who own property in the area of the new school. The only testimony presented under oath was by Terry Rumery, of Rumery & Associates, and the city's economic developer. No one was present from the Chillicothe R-2 School District for the public hearing.

City Council Excerpt 05/31/16 - Two voluntary annexation ordinances involving land near the Chillicothe High School were passed Tuesday evening at the Chillicothe City Council meeting. The ordinances annexed into the a tract of land totaling approximately 24.8 acres located north of the Chillicothe city limits along U.S. 65 and a tract totaling approximately 45.5 acres located north of the Chillicothe R-2 school property. These annexation ordinances were passed with 5-0 votes. The owners of the 24.8 acres located north of the Chillicothe city limits are John Hutchinson and Don Metry Jr. Both land owners signed a petition to annex the unincorporated area of land. The owner of the 45.5 acres of land located north of the Chillicothe R-2 school property is the Chillicothe Education Foundation. The foundation verified a petition to annex the unincorporated area of land. A portion of the Chillicothe Education Foundation land will be used to build the new Chillicothe preschool through first grade building which was included in the school bond issue that passed in April. The long-range plan for the Chillicothe R-2 district is to have a one-campus school district with all school buildings located on the CEF property that was officially annexed into the city last night. A portion of the Hutchinson and Metry land will be used to build an access road from U.S. Highway 65 to the school site to help with traffic flow. A public hearing was held concerning the annexations on April 25, 2016, and was continued to May 9, 2016 when it was held by the city council. No written objections to the proposed annexations were filed with the council, and no objections were filed within 14 days after the public hearing. The council determined that the annexations are reasonable and necessary for the proper development of the city and that the city is able to furnish normal municipal services to the area within a reasonable time. The properties were previously zoned by Livingston County as agricultural and such zoning shall continue as the zoning of the land annexed until the proper zoning of the land can be considered as required by state law and city ordinances.

City Council Excerpt 05/09/15 - The Chillicothe City Council conducted two public hearings Monday night regarding voluntary annexations of land near Chillicothe High School. The annexation requests came as the result of the school district's plans to build a new school for preschool, kindergarten and first-grade students. Chillicothe R-2 Superintendent Dr. Rogers Barnes spoke in favor of the annexation. There was no one speaking against the annexation. One property being considered for annexation belongs to the Chillicothe Education Foundation and the other belongs to John Hutchinson and Don Metry Jr. One parcel would be for construction of the building and the other is for an access road leading to the new school. The public has 14 days following the public hearing to provide input regarding the annexation before the council vote on the proposal in two weeks. If the annexation is approved, the issue will be sent to the city's Planning and Zoning Board for zoning designation.

$14.5 Million Bond Issue Passes With 63 Percent Approval
April 6, 2016

CAPTION: Many people in support of Chillicothe R-2 School District's $14.5 million bond issue fill the Livingston County Courthouse lobby to watch as election results are posted. When the final numbers were recorded, the lobby erupted with applause.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

Results of the municipal election started rolling in around 7:15 p.m. Tuesday. Many Chillicothe R-2 school board members, teachers and administrators, as well as members from the Committee for Building a Brighter Future, were at the courthouse watching the results on the big screen as they were revealed. After the final results were posted, many cheered in celebration because the Chillicothe R-2 school bond issue had passed with a 63.09 percent approval.

Overall, the bond issue question received 1,258 "Yes" votes and 736 "No" votes. The election saw a 26 percent voter turnout, with 1,994 of Chillicothe School District's 7,803 registered voters casting ballots. Voters approved the bond issue in an almost steady 2:1 fashion. There were voters from many different wards / townships (plus absentee voters) concerning the school bond issue. The first results to be revealed were the absentee results: 109 (72 percent) voted yes and 42 (28 percent) voted no. Chillicothe Ward 1 had 487 voters out of 1,684 (28.92 percent) and 345 (70.84 percent) vote yes and 142 (29.16 percent) voted no. Chillicothe Ward 2 had 239 voters out of 1,014 (23.57 percent) and 167 (69.87 percent) voted yes and 72 (30.13 percent) voted no. The Chillicothe Ward 3 and 4 had 438 voters out of 2,652 voters (16.52 percent) and 257 (58.68 percent) voted yes and 181 (41.32 percent) voted no. Chillicothe and Rich Hill townships had 379 out of 1,228 voters (30.86 percent) and 189 (49.87 percent) voted yes and 190 (50.13 percent) voted no. The Jackson / Sampsel townships had 153 voters out of 567 (26.98 percent) and had 103 (67.32 percent) voted yes and 50 (32.68 percent) voted no. Blue Mound and Monroe townships had 39 voters out of 161 (24.22 percent) and 26 (66.67 percent) voted yes and 13 (33.33 percent) voted no. The Wheeling township had 49 vote out of 258 voters (18.99 percent) and 26 (53.06 percent) voted yes and 23 (46.94 percent) voted no. There were only two people able to vote on this issue in the Green and Mooresville townships and neither voted. There were 53 out of 208 (25.48 percent) that voted in the Fairview and Grand River townships, and 33 (62.26 percent) of those voters voted yes and 20 (37.74 percent) voted no. There were 6 voters out of 31 (19.35 percent) that voted in the Cream Ridge / Medicine townships and 3 (50 percent) voted yes and 3 (50 percent) voted no. In the end, 63.09 percent voted in favor of the bond issue and 36.91 percent voted against it. The "Yes" vote won every ward and township with the exception of the Chillicothe / Rich Hill townships, in which the "No" vote won by a single vote.

The school bond issue that passed will allow the school district to borrow $14,550,000 and issue general obligation bonds to construct, improve, furnish and equip new and existing school buildings and related facilities. Projects include, but are not limited to: constructing a new building for preschool through first grades on the Chillicothe Education Foundation land near the existing high school, demolishing the existing preschool buildings, replacing the failing roof on the high school, improving heating and air conditioning at Dewey and Field Elementary Schools and at Grand River Technical School, and making improvements for safety and security, including entry improvements at Grand River Technical School and construction of an enclosed corridor connecting the middle school main building to the field house. To achieve these construction plans, those in the Chillicothe school district will see a 37-cent tax increase over the existing debt service levy of $0.5960 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation of real and personal property.

Chillicothe R-2 Superintendent, Dr. Roger Barnes, was there to explain the next step. "Now, we'll be working with our architects and also with our bond counsel to get our bond certificates sold," Barnes said. After the bonds are sold, the actual construction can take place.

This election was the first phase of a long-range, multiphase plan to move all pre-kindergarten through eighth grade educational facilities to property owned by the Chillicothe Education Foundation near the existing high school campus.

Excerpt City Council Meeting 02/29/16 - Chillicothe City Council members will have a public hearing to consider distribution of capital improvement sales tax funds at 6 p.m. Monday, March 7, in the council chambers at City Hall. Proposed items include an access road off of U.S. Highway 65 North for the proposed new Chillicothe R-2 school campus, structural repairs to the police station wall, and construction of a new airport hangar that would house the LifeFlight Eagle ambulance helicopter operations. Capital Improvement Sales Tax Fund money is generated though a half-cent city sales tax. Each year, the council conducts a public hearing as to how the funds should be used. The access road to the proposed new school campus is budgeted in part through the city in an amount not to exceed $600,000. The city's portion, if approved, would be $300,000, and would be matched by $300,000 from local foundations. The balance of the cost would be paid for by the Chillicothe R-2 School District. Construction of the road is contingent upon passage of the school's bond issue being presented on the April 5, 2016, ballot.

Forum Attendees Show Support for One-Campus District
December 2, 2015

Last night, nearly 200 people from the community attended the fifth community forum at the Performing Arts Center concerning the long-range building plan for the Chillicothe R-2 school district. At the forum, Superintendent Dr. Roger Barnes and John Brown of Hollis and Miller Architects (which is the architect firm the district has been working with for over a year on developing a long-range plan) presented two options to those in attendance: Option A and Option B.

Option A consisted of having two campuses: an elementary campus (preschool through fifth grade) at the existing middle school site and a middle school / high school campus on the Chillicothe Education Foundation's 60 acres where the high school is currently.

Option B consisted of having one campus for the entire district (preschool through 12th grade) built on the Chillicothe Education Foundation's 60 acres where the high school is currently. Option B is able to be considered now due to the City of Chillicothe and the Chillicothe Education Foundation paying for a road to be built from U.S. Highway 65, north of Missouri Route 190, to come in just north of the stadium to provide access to a new elementary building.

Those in attendance at last night's forum were able to show support of which plan he or she liked best after both plans were presented. Each attendee was given a green sticky dot to place on which plan he or she liked best as he or she exited the PAC. According to Dr. Barnes, there were 184 green dots for Option B and four dots for Option A. Because of the overwhelming support shown for Option B, Dr. Barnes anticipates that the Chillicothe R-2 Board of Education will pursue the one-campus option. Voting of which option will to be pursued is on the agenda for the December board meeting. "Option B is the better plan because it solves traffic flow issues that cannot be solved with Option A," Dr. Barnes said. He also said Option B has been "a vision for district" for a long time and the beginning steps are finally able to taken to fulfill that vision. Whether or not a one-campus district will become a reality will be voted on by members of the community come April.

City OKs School Request 3-2
By Catherine Stortz Ripley
December 1, 2015

Chillicothe City Council members voted 3-2 to provide partial funding for a new road if Chillicothe School District patrons approve a plan to expand the district at its high school campus in north Chillicothe. The decision was made during the council's regular meeting at City Hall Monday evening. The school district currently is considering two options for a long-range facility plan and either option involves a public vote in April 2016. The school district is hosting a public forum at 6:30 Tuesday at Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center to gather input in determining which proposal to pursue. Now that the city has agreed to pay half of the construction costs for a new road (not to exceed $300,000), the idea of developing a one-campus district is more feasible according to Superintendent Dr. Roger Barnes. The other option the district is considering is to create a middle school facility at the existing Chillicothe High School site on the Chillicothe Education Foundation's land and to create a preschool through fifth grade campus at the current middle school site. Whichever option is decided, either one must be voted on by the school district's patrons. The district plans to present a bond issue to voters in April 2016. If the north campus option is selected and school district patrons approve the ballot measure, the city would provide up to $300,000 from the city's capital improvement fund to build the road. The other half of road funding would come from local foundations. The road would be accessed from U.S. Highway 65, north of Missouri Route 190, and come in just north of the stadium to provide access to a new elementary building. Ed Douglas, president of the Education Foundation, addressed the council prior to the vote as did Chillicothe R-2 Superintendent Dr. Roger Barnes. Douglas summarized the details leading up to the foundation's request for funding and the foundation's desire for a one-campus district. He stated that several other local foundations pledged half of the funding for the road if the city would provide the other half. Barnes stated that developing a one-campus district is the vision for the children and the vision for the city. He said the district has been supportive in the city's economic development efforts in the past and thanked the city for considering the district's request. Prior to the vote, council members explained that the only issue the council was considering was whether to set aside funds to help build the road. Whether a new school is built would be up to Chillicothe School District voters to decide. Councilman-at-Large David Moore, First Ward Councilman Reed Dupy, and Fourth Ward Councilman Paul Howard voted in favor of providing the requested funds; while Second Ward Councilman Wayne Cunningham and Third Ward Councilman Tom Douglas voted against the request. Each councilman stated that he would be voting whether to approve funding in accordance with the telephone calls he received from the public. Each member prefaced their votes by detailing the number of calls he received in favor, in opposition, and as to which ward the callers were from. Following the vote, Alvin Thompson questioned whether the city's capital improvements fund money legally could be used for the project. Moore stated that the city's legal counsel assured the city that it would be a legal use of the fund.

R-2 District, Foundation Ask Council for Financial Support in North Campus Plan
Catherine Stortz Ripley, CT
November 11, 2015

Chillicothe City Council members are considering a request to help fund construction of a road that could make developing a one-campus school district at the existing high school site a feasible option. The request came from the Chillicothe Educational Foundation with support from the school district. Foundation president Ed Douglas and Chillicothe R-2 School Superintendent Roger Barnes addressed the council during the city's regular meeting Monday evening at City Hall. The foundation asked the city to consider funding one-half of the cost to build a road from U.S. Highway 65 to a facility that could be built north of the stadium to house pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade students. Local foundations, Douglas said, agreed to fund half of the road if the city would provide funding for the other half. The maximum cost was identified at $600,000, and the city's portion would not exceed $300,000. Actual costs could be below that dollar amount, Douglas said. The school board has been working with architects on a new facility plan for more than a year and anticipates placing a measure on the April 2016 ballot to address building facility needs. Through building evaluations and input from the community, a plan was formed to build a two-campus district: an elementary campus at the current middle school site and a middle school / high school campus at the current high school site. The idea of a one-campus district had been favorable; however, it was ruled out because of the estimated $1.2 million that would be needed to build a road from Highway 65 to Hornet Road to help with traffic flow. "Rather than building a road from Highway 65 to Hornet Drive, we came up with a plan that we could build the building north of the stadium and then have an in-and-out turn around," Douglas said. A stop light would need to be added to Highway 65, approximately halfway between Missouri 190 and the traffic light at the correctional center. Douglas explained that the foundation had been given 15 acres near the high school years ago and had purchased another 45 acres with the idea that pre-kindergarten through 12th grades eventually would be at one location. "Our thought was that when the new high school was built, it would make a great area for a campus over a long period of time," Douglas told the council. "We hired architects to study and determine whether all of the potential school buildings could go into that acreage and we found that they could." Under this most recent proposal, the access point to the new building would be off of Highway 65, so there would be no additional traffic on Hornet Drive. If approved, long-term plans would be to move grades two through five to the campus as well, perhaps around 2031, and then the foundation and district would consider funding for extending the road to Hornet Drive.

In addition to Douglas and Barnes, several other people attended Monday night's meeting, including representatives from community foundations and property owners who said they would be willing to provide an easement for the road, if that option is pursued. Also present was Tonya Lohman, area engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation. The road would be a city road and maintained by the city. It was noted that when the high school was built, the city paid for half of the costs of Hornet Drive.

Barnes said that he would like for the campus to be located north and that district teachers and building administrators also supported the one-campus concept. He noted that the school district has been supportive of the city's economic development efforts in the past, even when those efforts involved tax abatements and a loss of short-term revenue for the district, and asked that the city support the funding request. The council scheduled a special finance meeting for Monday, November 23, to consider the request. Barnes stated that if the council is willing to grant the request, the district would conduct a public forum on Tuesday, December 1, to further explain the proposal and gather feedback from those attending whether to expand at the current high school site or develop facilities at the existing middle school. Douglas expressed the foundation's desire to support the school district and advocated for one campus. "We will support the school in any direction they want to go," he said. "I do think that it does need to be north. There are so many advantages."

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Chillicothe, MO 64601

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