Just what the new Syracuse Elementary School will look like is becoming more clear. During the regular monthly meeting of the Wawasee school board Tuesday evening, June 9, in Syracuse, the board heard a brief update on the design phase of the building from Brian Bohlander, architect for Barton-Coe-Vilamaa.
Bohlander said much progress has been made since the board was last given an update. The schematic plan shows classroom wings for grades kindergarten through fifth around a “spine” of common areas to include the media center, office and more. The other end of the building would include the cafeteria, gym, boiler room, art and music rooms and more.
Specifics of the site plan are being worked on, too, and would include access from Kern Road. It is hoped traffic patterns can be designed to allow for different areas for parents to drop off and pick up their children, school buses to drop off kids and delivery drivers and food service staff to access the building.
Bohlander noted an option is also still being considered for using a geothermal well field on the north side of the site. He added they are also looking to improve a driveway entrance to the high school off Kern Road, which would then be aligned with the entrance to the elementary school. He said he hopes to be able to share a three-dimensional view of the site plan the next time he briefs the board.
In conjunction with the construction of the new elementary school, the school board approved various resolutions that are required for construction projects of this size. And the board approved the option of re-issuing a bond originally issued in 2000 and then again in 2005 for the construction of North Webster Elementary School. James Flecker, school corporation attorney, said it could provide additional funding for the school corporation depending on the interest rates. He noted the board can wait until the summer of 2016 to look at the re-issuance of the bond more closely.
In other business, the board heard a report from Wendy Hite, director of special services, about an eight-grade special needs student, Austin de la Fuente. Austin impressed Becca Snider, mental health therapist at Wawasee Middle School, by reaching out and connecting with another student and helping him to join the wrestling team. Austin enjoyed his peer leadership role so much he voluntarily sacrificed some of his own class time to be a student aide for Snider the final trimester of the school year.
And he also helped another teacher in her functional skills class.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, Dr. Tom Edington, superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corp., noted efforts are being made to find kindergarten students in order to avoid as much as possible what happened last school year when 24 kindergarten students showed up after school had already started. North Webster Elementary will have a booth during the Cutie Parade at the Mermaid Festival, while Milford School Principal Cindy Kaiser and her assistant principal Ryan Connor passed out fliers during the Memorial Day parade in Milford.