Measure on April ballot will pay for Hannibal Innovation Campus, upgrades to Porter Stadium

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The Hannibal Innovation Campus, 4417 McMasters, once housed Sutherlands, and is adjacent to the Aldi grocery store. The campus is across U.S. 61 from Hannibal High School. | Muddy River File Photo

HANNIBAL, Mo. — Voters in Marion and Ralls counties will decide in April if the Hannibal Public School District can borrow $30 million to construct, equip and furnish the Hannibal Innovation Campus.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the Hannibal School Board approved the ballot measure “Proposition Innovation” for the April 2 election. 

Susan Johnson, superintendent of the Hannibal Public School District, said the $30 million will not increase taxes but will instead lengthen the time the district is indebted for the loan. If approved, the adjusted debt service levy of the school district will remain unchanged at $1.20 per $100 of assessed valuation of real and personal property.

The district bought the 88,000-square-foot building at 4417 McMasters, which once housed Sutherlands, in June for $1.9 million. It was paid for through state allocation funds approved by the Missouri Legislature. An additional $4 million was obtained in federal USDA funds. 

The Innovation Campus will service Hannibal High School students as well as students from six other districts — Marion County, Mark Twain, Monroe City, Palmyra, Canton and Highland.

Programs that would move from the Hannibal Career and Technical Center to the Innovation Campus are welding, machine and tool, automotive technology, cosmetology and an expansion of the health services and health sciences programs. School officials also plan to introduce culinary arts, hospitality and tourism programs. 

The Innovation Campus will partner with area colleges to provide adult programs for higher education and training.

Johnson said the ballot measure also proposes funding needed renovations at auditoriums at the Hannibal Middle School and Hannibal High School while prepaying existing lease financings. Upgrades to the concession stand and bathrooms at Porter Stadium will be completed, and the bleachers will updated to become more accessible in compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

“Depending on how much money is available, we will also use it for any other needed repairs and things, just to keep our district for the good of the kids and our community,” Johnson said.

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