Ozark School District hosts groundbreaking ceremonies for two new school buildings

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OZARK, Mo. — The Ozark School District will hold groundbreaking ceremonies for what it has been working on since last summer, the Ozark High School Innovation Center and the Tiger Paw Early Childhood Center.

Well, the Innovation Center is basically an empty warehouse right now, but here on Fourth Street the windows, upper molding and stairs have been replaced for the Early Childhood Center.

Superintendent Dr. Chris Bauman says these buildings will give Ozark more flexibility.

In the June 2020 election, 62% of voters in Ozark said yes to a $26,500,000 school bond proposal.

“We are so appreciative of our community’s support.,” Bauman said.

Bauman says the district wants to serve more students and expanding Tiger Paw is the place to start.

Currently, Ozark has 200 kids on a waiting list, at most.

“When we started the strategic planning process, we realized that students who are on that waiting list will not even have the opportunity to be served,” Bauman said. “So, the sense of urgency was really raised.”

Now, the school is working to reopen one of its old buildings in 2022, on its 100th birthday.

“It is very exciting when you have a building that has been in the community for 100 years, and then now we’re going to move in our earliest learners so that they also get to experience that great space,” Bauman said. “We’re going to end up adding I believe it’s about 12 classrooms.”

Which allows the district to serve 200 more children. Another opportunity presents itself on Jackson Street where Ozark bought the Fasco building for its High School Innovation Center.

“The services that we’re going to be able to bring to our students are really going to have a great strong connection to business on our students moving forward and their careers,” Bauman said. “And that’s what we’re really most excited about.”

The 170,000 square foot space will help expand school programs like agriculture.

“We have a farm that is south of town, we’re going to be able to take some of those services, bring them forward into this building and really expand beyond what we’re able to do at our high school once again because they’re limited on space,” Bauman said.

Bauman says he hopes the Innovation Center will help students learn about their interests and skills.

High schoolers will be given the chance to have hands-on experience.

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