After the regular school board meeting Tuesday in Syracuse, the board held a work session and heard a report from Dr. Tom Edington, superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corp., about possible construction projects within the next year or two and several years later.
During the regular meeting, the board approved purchasing land from the Eagles that will be used to build a new Syracuse Elementary School. Edington presented a possible timeline for the project. It would include setting a public hearing date during the November board meeting, holding the public hearing during the December meeting and voting on the project, beginning the planning process in February, finalizing those plans by May, publicizing bids in June and awarding the project in July. Construction could begin in August 2015.
In conjunction with building a new elementary school, other areas need to be addressed too. Parking lot lights need upgrading at all schools, athletic field lights need to be installed at Wawasee High School, Wawasee Middle School and Milford School. Renovations are needed in the art, music, band, library, office and technology areas of the high school and the social studies classrooms at the high school need to be enlarged.
The roof, hallway carpeting, a boiler and water heater need replaced at North Webster Elementary and Milford School needs additional instructional space. “It (Milford) is our tightest school now,” Edington said.
He estimated it could cost about $30 million ($18 million for Syracuse Elementary), which would include capitalized interest, architect fees and other costs for all the projects together. “But those numbers are probably way too high,” he emphasized. “We can go backwards on the cost, but we don’t want to go any higher.”
Edington also briefly spoke about a projected 10 year plan for projects. He said miscellaneous projects would need to be done in 2015 at all schools, technology upgrades done in 2016 at all buildings, then the tennis courts re-coated and striped at the high school, WMS and Milford and the running tracks re-coated and striped at WMS and Milford.
In 2017, part of what would then be the old Syracuse Elementary could be renovated to be used as the central office for the school corporation. Then the central office would be renovated and used as the alternative school.
The board did not vote on any of the projects or timelines. George Gilbert, board member, asked Edington to present a firm proposal that could be discussed later.
Also during the work session, the first reading of board policy revisions was discussed. Revisions would include requiring football coaches at the high school to be trained and certified in dealing with concussion injuries. Other sports coaches could be included in the policy, but it is optional and not required. Other revisions would include dealing with employee substance abuse issues, whether or not to charge for transfer tuition, how social media is used by staff to communicate with students and determining when a child with head lice is required to come back to school.
Two more readings will be held before the policy updates are voted on.