Economic Development Commission receives updates on new high school

15 Jun 2018

Maria Childs

The Junction City-Geary County Economic Development Commission received an update on the new Junction City High School from Unified School District 475 officials Thursday morning during its monthly meeting.

The district’s Chief Operating Officer, David Wild, said there are several things that are of interest for the economic development that come with the new school. 

“I think of primary interest to you all will be the bidding process,” he said. 

As the Board of Education and the district move forward, any element of this project that exceeds $20,000 must be competitively bid, according to Kansas law. 

Wild said this is relevant to the development of the city because it will award both local and nonlocal businesses to the area. 

“We would like to keep as many of those dollars local as possible,” he said.

While they would like to keep the dollars local, Wild also realizes local businesses cannot support the whole project. 

“The local workforce cannot support that effort, so we will be pulling in a lot of construction workers from larger metro areas including Wichita, Kansas City, Topeka,” he said. “They’ll be lodging here and spending money in the community.”

Thinking Regionally

County Commissioner Ben Bennett and USD 475 have had discussions about the possibility of a sports complex that could be used by multiple entities. This include the school district, county and city. 

During his report, Wild said this has been Bennett’s vision for a while, but they must be cautious about using state funding for a joint-use facility.

“Normally the state does not approve its funding for athletic facilities,” Wild said. “They made the exception because none of our facilities are ADA-compliant. With that in mind, if the state perceives that our primary objective in construction of this complex is other than educational needs, we have put that state money at risk.”

Wild said the district currently allows others to use its facilities for a fee, and he plans for that to continue with the new building. 

“I don’t see it being anything more robust than a memorandum of understanding, maybe a tri-part agreement between the district, county and city where the county and city can use the facility, but the district interest remain first order — it’s got to retain privacy,” he said.