CARTHAGE, Mo. — The Carthage School Board approved a ballot measure to fund a new performing arts center at Monday night’s meeting.

The $18 million initiative will be on the ballot during April 5th’s election.

Officials said there will not be a tax increase if it passes.

Along with housing a new space for band, drama and choir, the facility would also free up classroom space at the high school.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Katie Crigger, vocal music director at Carthage High School. “I’ve worked for the district since 2010. I was actually a student at Carthage High School and graduated from here in 2003, so I’ve seen through the years how desperately needed this facility is for our students and for the community of Carthage and just the exciting things we’ll be able to do within Carthage by having a new facility.”

The current facility is based at the Carthage 6th Grade Center and was built in 1987. Its auditorium holds around 800 people. Carthage R-9 Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Baker said issues with the present auditorium include lights, sound, the stage, dressing rooms, size, storage, the scene shop, seating and the pit area.

“We hope the ballot measure will pass so we have a performing arts center and also new classrooms,” Baker said.

The final vote for putting the issue on the ballot was 5-2.