SYRACUSE — Several construction or renovation projects in Wawasee schools to be done next summer were approved during the regular monthly meeting of the Wawasee school board Tuesday evening, Dec. 13, in Syracuse.
Work will be done in Milford School, Wawasee Middle School, Wawasee High School and the former Syracuse VFW building now owned by the school corporation will be renovated. At Milford School, work will include, but not be limited to, renovating classrooms, hallways and offices, refurbishing science, FACS and industrial tech areas, updating classroom technology boards, replacing furniture as needed and renovating the tennis courts.
Some of the work to be done at WMS will be updating classroom technology boards, repaving the track, constructing a soccer field restroom and concessions facility, upgrading the drainage pond, upgrading outdoor security measures and upgrading the planetarium. The high school will have the most work done and some of that will be renovating the auditorium area including lighting, sound, curtains, flooring and HVAC equipment, refurbishing the tennis courts, installing a turf field and installing trails beside Syracuse-Webster Road, beside Kern Road and a trail with lighting through the campus to the new Syracuse Elementary School. Robotics and radio/TV equipment will be upgraded and much more.
In addition, the central office of the school corporation will be renovated.
Jim Elizondo of City Securities said the projects will cost an estimated total of $12,160,000 to be paid off during 20 years. “This is subject to change and is only preliminary,” he added. The interest rate for the bonds will be the current market rate plus 1 percent.
Tax impact will depend on the value of a home, but would be about $3.22 more per month for a $200,000 home, $5.36 more per month for a $300,000 home and $14.10 more per month for a $700,000 home. Elizondo estimated Wawasee’s tax rate would increase by about 4 cents. “Wawasee’s tax rates, on average, are lower because of the high assessed value of many homes,” he said.
Dr. Tom Edington, Wawasee superintendent, said about 10 years from now consideration will be given to building a new Milford School. A 1028 Hearing was held during the meeting and there were no public comments.
In other business, during her report to the board Joy Goshert, assistant superintendent for curriculum, said Kelly Clifford from Five-Star Technology Solutions will be working with instructional coaches and administrators throughout the school year to continue professional development for them to transfer to professional development for teachers. Many of the Wednesday morning SMART Starts continue to be used for professional development for teachers regarding technology.
Goshert also noted as of mid-November, 18 percent of the ASUS Flip Chromebooks used by grades four and five have either had breakage or defective parts, compared to 6 percent of iPads and 3.5 percent of the Dell Touchscreen Chromebooks. James Flecker, director of personnel and legal services for the school corporation, said ASUS has been very difficult to work with. He said a recommendation will be made to the board during the January meeting, but he will likely ask for approval to have all of the ASUS computers shipped back to the company and to start over for the fourth- and fifth-graders.
Goshert also reported a state panel looking at ways to replace ISTEP+ did put together a proposal, but it will still likely be the 2018-19 school year before a new test is implemented statewide.