(Town Crier photo/Nan Snider)
It was business as usual for Riverside Superintendent Tommy Knight last week following the passage of the 9-mill school tax increase on Sept. 18. The school tax passed with a vote of 596 for and 531 against.
"I am looking toward the future for our school and the construction of our new classrooms," Knight said. "Both Riverside School projects were approved by the state but they only funded the high school construction, in Lake City. The next step will be to reapply for funding of the new elementary school in Caraway.
"First we have to sell bonds. Then we have to agree on a design for the new high school. Then we look at financing and the architect. We will then advertise for bids on the construction. We are hoping to break ground in the spring of 2008, and hopefully be in the new building in two years.
"We have three years to spend the money received from the state. We will be using Mark Cahoon, of Jonesboro, as our architect. The new 7-12 grade high school will be built on the 45 acres of land, where the Riverside West Elementary is now. We have plenty of ground there for the new school. There will be a great traffic flow in and out of the school grounds from three directions.
"The up to date building will provide appropriate classroom size with room to grow. It will be wired to accommodate the latest trends in technology. We will be able to use computers and smart boards in every room if needed, and there will be plenty of storage for everything. Security will excellent with us planning for limited points of access."
Knight was most excited about the new science lab in the new high school. Plans are to salvage usable portions of the old high school building on Catfish Drive.
"We may use the current Superintendent's office as the central office, after the new school is built, as it is in a good location." Knight said. "We may make available the salvageable portions of the school for community use. We plan to utilize both campuses. The gymnasiums in Lake City and Caraway will be used as usual for basketball games. There will be a new physical education complex at the high school .Now we will have maximum parking available at all sites.
"Our school patrons have expressed their desire for Riverside to grow and expand. They want our students to have the very best facilities possible, in order to get the very best education possible. I believe our modern school structures and reputation for offering a quality education will cause many people to choose the Eastern District as a nice place to live and raise their families. Our district has a lot to offer already and it is just going to get better."