Officials trying to re-establish funding to build new Pike-Lincoln Tech Center

The rebuilding process of the Pike-Lincoln Tech Center has hit a funding snag, but officials are confident they can get the money to rebuild the technical school.

The main building of the Eolia technical school burned to the ground on Dec. 2, 2011 in a large blaze of an unknown origin. It has since been demolished.

About $2.25 million was originally appropriated for the project by the Missouri legislature, but it went to Joplin tornado relief.

The funding switch occurred after Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a capital improvements bill, according to Brett Dinkins, a legislative assistant for new Missouri House Rep. Jim Hansen (R-Frankford).

“Now they are looking for $4.75 million,” Dinkins said last week.

“Jim is working with house budget chairman Rick Stream (R-Kirkwood) to get it done.

“It might be difficult to get for this year,” Dinkins said. “If it doesn’t happen in this budget (for 2013-2014) and falls through, we’re looking at the next budget (for 2014-2015.)

“If it has to be done in spurts, that’s a possibility they are examining.”

“We’re working on it through different committees and different representatives in the appropriations committee,” Hansen said.

Clopton R-III School District officials who oversee the technical school have said since the fire there is a strong possibility the school would be rebuilt in phases.

Estimates to rebuild have ranged from $2.3 to $7.9 million, depending on what the district wants and can afford. An initial vision targeted a new auto body collision and welding shop that were lost in the fire.

Auto classes and diesel tech instruction continue at the tech’s center main Eolia campus. The building they are housed in was detached for the burned-out main building and was not damaged in the blaze.

Nursing and business students have been taking classes in the old Clopton Middle School building ever since.

Although the original funding was scrapped, Clopton Superintendent Mark Harvey said the rebuilding plan is still on track.

“The architect and the insurance company are reviewing plans to finalize square-footage costs,” Harvey said last week.

“Jim (Hansen) and I have talked about funding and this is the time to access those funds,” Harvey said last week.

“I’m talking to senators and representatives on both sides of the aisle.”

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Posted on Monday, March 18, 2013 at 8:08 am