Dr. Pamela Ewell

Parents/Guardians and Benton Community members:

Planning continues for improvements to facilities at Benton Community School District.  Our facility needs exceed the funds available to the district.  As a result, a school bond referendum will likely be in March 2023. Detailed project scopes and timelines will be dependent upon a successful bond referendum which requires approval by a supermajority of voters (60%).

A Year of Planning

Our Facilities Advisory Committee participated in a year-long study of facilities, including brainstorming and scoping work sessions, surveys, and prioritization exercises. A diverse group of 35 volunteers representing the viewpoints of community members, staff, and students participated. Through the process, the Committee completed a robust evaluation of the information and helped create an overall master plan for the District’s facilities.

School Board Support

The School Board has reviewed the master plan and the Committee’s prioritized needs and has explored the next steps in the improvement process. Together with Shive-Hattery architects and engineers, they have refined the priorities and aligned the improvements with the District’s potential funding sources for projects. 

Potential Facility Improvements

Priorities identified by the Board that may be included as part of a bond referendum are:

·      Improvements at Atkins Elementary School to accommodate growth

·      Heating, cooling, electrical, and safety  upgrades at the High School and Middle School

·      A new elementary school to provide modern, accessible, and adaptable facilities to support the evolving needs of the district

Timing of Facility Improvements

Project timing will depend on a successful passage of a bond referendum in March of 2023.

Design of projects will likely begin immediately after the passage of the referendum.  Construction will start on improvements as early as Spring 2024. Length of construction timelines will vary, with some improvements completed in 2025 and a new school potentially opening in Van Horne in time for the 2026/2027 school year.

Options for other district facilities, such as Norway Intermediate,  Keystone Elementary, and the old Van Horne Elementary, will be explored.

Watch for future updates on Benton’s website homepage for the March 2023 bond referendum.

Dr. Pamela Ewell