The Ozark School District July 16 closed on a $4.1 million purchase of a 170,000 square-foot commercial property known as the Fasco building, located at 1600 W. Jackson St. The purchase is part of Phase 1 of the district’s long-range plan the board of education approved in March, according to a district press release. The building will serve as an extension of the Ozark High School campus and the new location of the district office.
“Purchasing an existing facility is the most responsible use of taxpayer money and we are fortunate to have a facility available that meets the needs of our growing district,” Ozark Superintendent Chris Bauman said in the release.
Appropriately named Operation Renovate & Innovate, Phase 1 of Ozark’s long-range plan calls for the purchase of an existing commercial facility to be remodeled as a high school innovation center; the addition of a storm shelter to the middle school; and the remodeling of the district office for the expansion of the Tiger Paw Early Childhood Center. Phase 1 will allow for the shift of grades: the four elementary buildings will house kindergarten through fourth grade students, grades five and six will be at the middle school; grades seven and eight will be at the junior high school and ninth-grade students will return to the high school.
“Purchasing the former Fasco building goes right in line with our long-range plan,” School Board President Jeff Laney said in the release. “Not only does it allow our district to provide unique and practical educational opportunities to our students that are not offered anywhere else in the area, but we are also able to ensure future readiness while preserving facilities that have been so important to our community’s past.”
A bond issue for the completion of long-range projects may appear on voters’ ballots as soon as April 2020, according to the release. For now, the district is busy planning the utilization of its new space, shifting select programs out of the existing high school facility and adding high-demand programs. Meetings to create the vision of this facility began in April. They will resume once school starts to include community and Ozark School District staff feedback.
“We looked at multiple locations throughout Ozark and this facility will sustain our district office and a portion of our high school well into the future,” Assistant Superintendent of Operations Curtis Chesick said. “Our next step is to secure an architecture firm and to finalize the layout of the facility. We plan to move our district office operations to the new facility late fall in order to continue expanding Tiger Paw, which began this summer.”
The Ozark School District is honoring existing leases at the purchased property. The purchase does not include SLS Audio Products – Dolby Laboratories at 1650 W. Jackson St., a separate facility next to the Fasco building.
“On behalf of the school board, I want to thank the community who participated in our long-range planning process last year and for those who will provide input in the future,” Laney added in the release. “I am excited to see how this will positively shape the district in years to come.”
For more information regarding Phase 1 of the long-range plan, visit ozarktigers.org/renovate.