As part of the regular monthly meeting of the Wawasee school board Tuesday evening in Syracuse, a 1028 Hearing was held in conjunction with the new Syracuse Elementary School to be built off Kern Road. Such a hearing is required by state law for a project of this scope.
Building a new Syracuse Elementary will cost $18,000,000 including architect and other costs. Dr. Tom Edington, Wawasee superintendent, noted remodeling the current Syracuse Elementary or building a new school on the same site were considered, but it was determined either option would cost more than building a new school elsewhere and it would also disrupt a well established neighborhood because houses would need to be demolished.
Kari Vilamaa of architectural firm Barton-Coe-Vilamaa said the new school would be about 100,000 square-feet in size and designed for 600 students. Design plans will begin in February 2015 and be finalized in May, bidding will take place in June, the project awarded in July and work will begin in August. The goal is to have the building completed in July 2017 and ready for occupancy by the start of the 2017-18 school year in August.
Though the project will cost $18 million, Edington noted it will not increase the tax rate because other debts will begin to fall off in 2017. “I don’t know if there is another superintendent in the state of Indiana who can say they have a building project like this and it won’t increase the tax rate,” he said.
The sale of bonds will finance the project, which will also include adding instructional space at Milford School ($2 million), and renovating the art, music, band, library, office and technology areas of Wawasee High School and enlarging the social studies classrooms ($3 million).
Edington indicated the current Syracuse Elementary will be shared with the community, but he did not elaborate specifically with any details.
There were no public comments on the projects and the school board granted approval for the sale of bonds and to move the project forward.
Other agenda items included:
• The WHS FFA Horticulture judging team was recognized for being national champions in October.
• Ryan Edgar, teacher at Wawasee Middle School, has been nominated to be the Air Force Association National Teacher of the Year.
• The Papers Inc. was recognized for a donation of $100 to Wawasee schools for a drug awareness project.
• A resolution was approved by the board for tax anticipation warrants for 2015, which occurs annually to keep the cash flow going and permit short term borrowing.
• Nancy Nelson was appointed to the Syracuse Public Library board of directors.
• Teresa Frey was appointed to the North Webster Public Library board of directors.
• The board approved renewal of property and casualty insurance. This is done annually.
• The board approved entering into a contract with Educational Services Corporation to conduct a study of administrator retirement benefits.
• Holly Tuttle of Women Today donated three mini iPads to be used at each of the elementary schools in the school corporation.
• And the board approved entering into an agreement with Playon!, which is a sports agreement that will interact with the new high school campus radio station.