SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Hillcrest High School was one of many schools that received funding from Proposition S in 2019.
Voters approved the bond issue which focused on making necessary upgrades to schools across the district.
“The architectural team had drawn up some preliminary stuff to let the voters see what could potentially happen,” Hillcrest Principal Rob Kroll said.
After talking with teachers and stakeholders, Hillcrest poured nearly $36 million in updates.
“Safety is a priority for us and because of that, we wanted to create our secure vestibule area,” Kroll said. “We put our main offices up here at the front. Previously you would have walked across the student center to check in. So now it’s a secure vestibule.”
Other new development included new locker rooms and a performing arts area. The school also made improvements to the library, classrooms, and student center.
“[The Student Center] is larger than it used to be, significantly,” Kroll said. “It’s been completely reworked and remodeled. College technical education is a big part of what we do. We wanted to create these spaces where students have the opportunity to do full-on culinary and shop pieces in our agricultural growth and our broadcast media department and all of these different things. Those are really unique spaces and those spaces were a big part of some of the decisions that we made in that construction process.”
Hillcrest also wanted students to be under one roof.
“Hillcrest used to be two separate areas,” Kroll said. “There was a 36-inch water main that pretty much fed Springfield their water from the Fulbright Water water treatment center, and that had to be completely relocated in order for us to connect the two.”
Springfield Public Schools (SPS) is looking to fund more projects similar to Hillcrest at different schools in the district. Voters will see Phase Two of Proposition S on the ballot. If passed, it would raise up to $220 million for projects with no tax increase.
“The 2023 proposed proposition s projects would include renovating, purging school, a new Pipkin Middle school, new middle school safety and security measures for all of our campuses,” SPS Superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan said. “Then also six storm shelters at six of our elementary campuses.”
In the first phase of Prop S, 31 schools were upgraded to have secure entrances. If phase two passes, security upgrades will be added to the remaining schools.
“It’s so important when you think about someone coming from the outside going into our schools,” Lathan said. “So ensuring that they can be within a confined location until we can give them clearance to enter into our facility.”
The second phase of Prop S will be on the April 4th ballot.