During the first regular monthly meeting of 2014, the Wawasee school board approved moving forward with a bond project for construction work at Wawasee High School. A 1028 hearing, required by state law since the project will cost more than $1 million, was held in conjunction with the meeting.
Mike Schmidt, principal of WHS, gave a brief report to the school board concerning the project list. Much of the work will involve athletic facilities, so Wawasee Superintendent Dr. Tom Edington said capital projects fund money cannot be used.
Projects will include repairing, re-coating and repainting the track around the football field, adding parking spaces behind the football stadium, constructing a new entrance along with a restroom and concessions building at the football stadium, and building a similar facility and entrance near the soccer fields and tennis courts. Schmidt noted if someone attending a tennis match or soccer game needs to use the restroom, they currently have to go inside the high school building and that can create safety or security issues.
Other projects will include replacing the phone system and public address system inside the high school, renovating the athletic training room, replacing grounds keeping and maintenance equipment, replacing softball and soccer bleachers, upgrading the security camera system of the high school building, replacing auxiliary gym backboards and more.
Estimated cost of the project is $1,847,000, though no bid specifications have been issued and no design work has been completed. Jim Evans, director of finances for the school corporation, noted it will take 20 years to repay the bonds and he anticipates a tax rate increase of about one-half of a penny for the first three years and then later an increase of about nine-tenths of a penny. He said someone with a home valued at $200,000 would see a tax bill increase of about 41 cents per month, while a $700,000 home would see an increase of $1.78 per month.
Kari Vilamaa of the architectural firm Barton-Coe-Vilamaa said he would likely return to the board meeting in March with more specific cost information and other details.
In other business, the board heard a report from Ryan Edgar, math teacher at Wawasee Middle School and also the faculty coach for the robotics teams of WMS. Two robotics teams competed at the state level at IPFW in Fort Wayne in December and one team placed second in the robotic strategy and innovation award. The second place team consisted of Jack Collins, Ryan Zorn, Braxton Studabaker and Clay Kelsheimer. The other team had Zac Avery, Shae Henn, Zac Hunter and Carson Hunter.
Edgar noted the teams qualified for the state based on how they placed at a competition at Grace College. Throughout the season, teams earned four trophies, eight medallions, two second place awards, one third place award and one fifth place award. Each of the eight students who were on state qualifying teams was at the school board meeting and received certificates of recognition in addition to being congratulated by each board member.
Also on the agenda, state law requires a reorganization of school boards yearly and Wawasee’s will remain the same as in 2013. Rebecca Linnemeier is president, Mike Wilson is vice president and Rob Fisher is secretary. Betty Bultemeier is the recording secretary, David Cates is the board attorney and board members will receive $2,000 plus $55 per meeting paid quarterly capped at a total of $4,000. Board meetings will still be held at 5:30 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month, except the third Tuesday in April, in the Warrior Room of WHS.
(For a more in-depth account of the board meeting, see today’s issue of The Mail-Journal.)