November 29, 2023

Dec. 14—The Joplin School District will take possession of the new Dover Hill Elementary School within a week, the Board of Education was told by a construction official Tuesday night.

The new school, 1100 N. Main St., will open for classes Wednesday, Jan. 4. It will house pupils currently attending Columbia and West Central, two Joplin schools that are nearly 100 years old.

A certificate of occupancy is expected to be obtained for the building by Thursday, said Aaron Hight, senior project manager with Crossland Construction Co. The school would be in the hands of district officials starting Monday of next week, he said.

“I’d say we’re probably 98% complete” with the project, Hight said. He added that some crews would still be working in the school even after it is turned over the district, finishing up painting and other tasks.

A large part of the move into Dover Hill took place Saturday. Nearly 80 employees of the district’s building and grounds department started loading boxes that had already been packed by teachers and staff at 7 a.m. at both Columbia and West Central schools and unloaded them at the new school by 11 a.m., board President Jeff Koch said during Tuesday’s meeting.

Only items and furniture deemed critical for daily instruction have been left at Columbia and West Central, where classes will end for the semester on Friday.

A community open house for Dover Hill will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3.

“If you haven’t seen it yet, I would encourage you to do so,” Hight said. “It’s an amazing building.”

Hight said his favorite part of the building is the Eagle logo on the south exterior, which is easily viewable to motorists heading north on Main Street.

“For me, coming over the viaduct and seeing that Eagle at night, it pops,” he said.

A groundbreaking for the school was held in April 2021. It was built on land donated by the city of Joplin and with proceeds from a $25 million bond issue approved by voters in 2020.

The board previously approved a construction budget for the school of about $27 million. Hight said Tuesday the project was coming in under budget, with about $200,000 left in the construction contingency fund that would be returned to the district.

In other business Tuesday, the board:

—Reviewed the 2021-22 audit report, conducted by Westbrook and Co. The district received an unmodified, or clean, audit opinion.

—Approved several new courses that will be offered at Joplin High School beginning next year. New courses are Hospitality and Tourism, Fundamentals of Design, Intro to Early Childhood and Education, Career Pathway to Teaching Profession Level II, AP Computer Science Principles, The World at War, Ancient Civilizations (Early Man to Rome), Women’s History and a number of virtual offerings.

—Approved change orders to the Dover Hill project in the amount of $19,586.80 for sidewalk drains, paint, sod and window bar stock.


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