SYRACUSE — Winter will not be officially finished for more than a month, but school administrators are already planning summer construction or renovation projects for Wawasee schools. During the regular monthly meeting of the Wawasee school board Tuesday evening, Feb. 9, in Syracuse, the board approved architectural firm Barton-Coe-Vilamaa to begin advertising for bids for capital funds summer projects.Brian Bohlender of Barton-Coe-Vilamaa said the projects will be done at Milford School and Wawasee High School. Those will include, but are not limited to, at Milford relocating the serving line in the cafeteria, replacing some kitchen equipment, renovations in the small gym and main gym, converting at least one (possibly two) computer lab to a classroom, upgrading the heating and cooling system and boiler room, renovating some restrooms and adding a covered canopy at door number two for school bus riders. Other work at Milford would include replacing the roof in the two oldest sections.
At the high school, two health classrooms would be renovated with mostly “cosmetic” changes, Bohlender noted, a new fuel station will be installed at the bus garage, the concessions and brickyard areas will be renovated, as well as the choir and band rooms and more.
Bids received for Milford will be presented to the school board at the March meeting and for WHS at the April meeting.
In other business, the 1:1 initiative to get electronic devices for every student and teacher in the Wawasee school corporation continues to move forward. Jace Stewart of the 1:1 committee told the board teacher devices have been ordered and asked for permission to order the student devices, which the board approved. Infrastructure upgrades, such as installing more wireless access points, will eventually be completed. He also noted the website warriorwarehouse.org for professional staff development is running and growing each day.
Also on the agenda, Bob Lahrman, director of support services for WCSC, said work is continuing through the winter months at the site of the new Syracuse Elementary School on Kern Road. More work on footers and foundation walls will be completed and work will continue on installing underground plumbing. He added masons are scheduled to begin their work March 1.
In other business, the board approved a resolution to purchase property west of Kern Road and contiguous to the site of the new school. At a price of $183,500 the school corporation will purchase 24 acres, a wooded area, from Charles and Frances Troup. School corporation attorney James Flecker noted it will be good to have control of this acreage, especially considering it has been used in the past for hunting.
During his report to the board, Dr. Tom Edington, superintendent, noted he met with a few state legislators, including Gov. Mike Pence, on Feb. 1. ISTEP+ and school accountability grades were discussed. The state has two years left on its contract with the ISTEP+ administrator.
Edington also told the board the school district earned a B grade from the state for the 2014-15 school year. And Wawasee has submitted an application to the Indiana Department of Education for a digital learning grant of up to $75,000. This grant can be used by school districts wanting to expand their 1:1 implementation.