LIBERTY — The last remaining project from Liberty Public Schools' $49 million dollar bond issue passed by voters in 2018 is the new fine arts wing and performing arts theater at Liberty High School.
The project, which creates new orchestra, band and choir classrooms; practice rooms; fine arts storage space; and a state-of-the-art theater while freeing up space that currently houses all the fine arts programs is slated to be complete by August before the start of the 2020-21 school year.
"I think it is going to be a great space," Chief Operations Officer Steve Anderson said. "People are going to be excited when they go in and see it. It is kind of hard, when you look at plans, to really appreciate what a great space it will be. But it is definitely sorely needed over there."
Anderson added that the project is on schedule and on budget.
"We try to respect as much as possible that vision that was put in front of voters so everything is what was expected," Anderson said about the close of current bond projects. "That plan was approved by 82% of the voters which is pretty significant."
Other recently completed projects include renovating and repurposing the auxiliary gym, weight room and wrestling space at Liberty High School.
What used to be the auxiliary gym has been split in half, one side used for weight lifting and the other half is turfed for physical education classes with the capacity for batting cages available to Liberty High baseball and softball teams.
With the new weight room on the upper floor of LHS, the previous basement space is now completely opened up for wrestling, which about doubled the space the wrestling program had this time last year.
"That was our biggest capital project over the course of the summer," Anderson said. "It bled into the fall and we are still tightening a few things up."
Anderson said every year the district completes about $5 million worth of capital improvement projects ranging from remodeling spaces like the wrestling rooms to replacing old heating and cooling systems.
As these final projects wrap up, Anderson said the district is revving up to evaluate future needs.
"We are in the process of bringing on a demographer and restarting a facilities master plan process over the summer with our eyes on another potential bond issue in the spring of 2021," Anderson said. "Then we bring in our architects to go through this tedious process of going through every building and working with our building leadership folks and keeping close contact with our board of education and administrative leadership team to formulate a plan that we can potentially package and present to voters."
As a future plan is in its earliest stages, Anderson said he isn't sure what the future holds.
"Enrollment projections are a key component," he added. "Obviously we don't want to overbuild."