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Project wins voter approval

WARRENSBURG Warrensburg administrators had a pleasant surprise last week when the proposal to upgrade and improve the elementary school passed by a large margin. I thought it would be closer, said Warrensburg School Superintendent Tim Lawson. In 2005, it was defeated by nine votes. This year, the $2.6 million dollar proposal was approved with 361 yes votes and 39 no votes. The project includes changing the configuration of the circle at the elementary school, adding a parking area, getting rid of old asbestos in a crawl space, an elevator and fire doors. After the first proposition was defeated, we had the opportunity to get more feedback from the public and they were instrumental in the design of the project this time, particularly with the circle in the front of the building, Lawson said. I think the new design was better received. Lawson also acknowledged that the fact that there will be no increase in taxes to pay for the project was also key in the vote. That was the bottom line, he said. People said they would generally be in favor of the project if there was no tax increase. The project will be paid for with a one-time state program called EXCEL along with about $125,000 from a surplus fund from prior projects. Lawson said that many schools throughout the state were taking advantage of the EXCEL program for upgrades and that fact would probably slow down the process. Well find an architect and engineer and proceed with the final drawings and plans, Lawson said. Then well submit the plans to the state department of education for approval, and because of all the EXCEL aid programs, he approval time has been drawn out considerably. He said he doesnt expect the approval until sometime this summer, and work to start in spring of 2008.

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