WARSAW — If the current plan conceived by Warsaw Community Schools reaches fruition, a building erected around the time the Korean War ended, which had always been a facility for Warsaw school kids and other students, may find new ownership. At its regular monthly meeting Monday night, Aug. 19, the board approved a comprehensive financing program that will likely result in the closing and sale of the Gateway Education Center.
“Only the building will close and we hope to sell,” said WCS’s Chief Financial Officer April Fitterling. “We will be housing and moving the programs, staff and students to other buildings in the district. We are continuing to work on what this will look like.”
During the presentation, Fitterling told the board that keeping the Gateway building open would require a $10 million investment and that the closing will save the district $125,000 annually in utility costs. The maintenance building, currently located on Scott Street, costs the district $50,000 annually in utility costs and upkeep. She said the building was constructed in 1952.
The closing and potential sale of the Gateway building at 201 N. Union St., known until 2010 as Madison Elementary School, is part of a funding program known as a General Obligation bond that was approved Monday night, Aug. 19 by the WCS Board of Trustees. The total bond amount, according to Fitterling, is $8 million. The bond will help fund various projects deemed important following a 10-year facilities plan commissioned by the district. The plan, which also included a demographic study, focused on cost savings, making the district more efficient and ensuring technology and staff wages remain up-to-date and competitive.
“The students and staff are a top priority for us and we will be making sure they have the best space and learning environment they need,” said Fitterling.
Fitterling and Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert told the board there were a number of potential projects on tap for funds made available through the bond. Those projects, include:
- Replacing chillers at Harrison and Eisenhower elementary schools. Chillers at those two schools are approximately 30 years old.
- Outside paneling is proposed for the exterior of the Warsaw Area Career Center.
- Building infrastructure projects, including individual heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in classrooms where needed.
- New cooling system for the school corporation’s data center, which houses the servers for the entire district.
- Construction of a new maintenance, food service and storage building, allowing WCS to end a long-standing rental of their current facility.
Fitterling and Hoffert told the board that with the use of GO Bond, local tax rates, reportedly already low by comparison to other similar communities, would remain low.