SYRACUSE — Only about a month into the school year next summer’s school renovation projects are already being planned. During the regular monthly meeting of the Wawasee School Board Tuesday evening, Sept. 18, in Syracuse, the board approved resolutions for projects to proceed in three different categories.
Those categories are renovation, solar and safety, security and technology. The cost for each category will not exceed $5 million. Bonds will be sold to pay for the projects no later than early December it is hoped and it was noted it is anticipated there will be no debt service tax increase.
Using the highest possible bond rate, it would cost 2.11 cents per $100 of assessed valuation for the renovations and about 4.94 cents per $100 of assessed valuation for the other two categories.
Renovation projects will be done in each school building in the corporation, as well as the transportation building and other locations. At Wawasee High School projects will include, among others, social studies area renovations, career and tech building and equipment renovations and auditorium renovations. At Milford School, the exterior of the building would be renovated, improvements made to the gymnasium, hallway electric monitors installed and more. North Webster Elementary would have the storage building renovated, sound system improvements in the gym and more.
At Wawasee Middle School, projects would include, among others, classroom painting, carpeting and furniture, cafeteria renovations and restroom renovations. Syracuse Elementary projects would include, among others, a gymnasium projection system, a trail to Kern Crossing and a landscaping/cross country course.
Solar panels would be installed at every building except Milford School and power would be fed into the buildings from each panel. “They (solar panels) will pay for themselves and they are guaranteed for 25 years,” noted Dr. Tom Edington, Wawasee superintendent. “We are not trying to make money, but rather save money on our electric bills.”
The exact locations of the solar panels is not known yet.
Edington noted safety, security and technology projects will include, among others, upgraded computer servers to better protect students, security camera upgrades and upgraded doors and locks. A more detailed project list will be published later.
In other business, the board heard a presentation from Sarah Bauer, who oversees the health services program for the school corporation. Bauer said school nursing is becoming more specialized and nurses are dealing with more chronic conditions of students, such as, for example, diabetes.
“We are the eyes and ears of the local health department and family practices,” she said. “We are on the front line and see things first.”
Nurses must have health care plans and also emergency action plans. They must also keep up to date with the best nurse care practices. Bauer noted nurses help guide parents “through the maze of health care” and trying to find a health care provider in the local area.
She said during the 2017-18 school year students visited school nurses 20,338 times and the flu season was particularly bad with 72 visits in one day to the Milford School nurse.
Other agenda items included:
• The board approved the 2019 school corporation budget which has been advertised in local newspapers and there were no public comments.
• The gone boarding class at the high school was featured in a WNIT-TV program about the class participating in the pro wakeboarding tour during the summer at Center Lake in Warsaw.
• Jace Stewart, Wawasee Middle School technology coordinator, was accepted into the CTO2B program so he can train future technology leaders.
• Ninety-two students in the freshmen class this year at the high school had already earned a total of 296 high school credits prior to starting high school.
• Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation has sponsored several school field trips including trips Sept. 27 and Oct. 2 among others.
• The high school volleyball team and varsity football player Dylan Hepler were recognized for outstanding sportsmanship.
• And the board approved a $5,000 donation from Brandy Swope to North Webster Elementary that will be used to help families pay for lunches, field trips, etc.