WARSAW — The future of Warsaw Community Schools’ Gateway Education Center was discussed during tonight’s WCS Board of School Trustees monthly work session.
The facility, located at 201 N. Union St., formerly served as Madison Elementary School until 2010. The structure was built in 1955. During the meeting, Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert and WCS Director Of Maintenance, Buildings and Grounds Jim LeMasters discussed the current issues with the building.
“The roof needs completely redone,” said LeMasters. “And we’re looking at it costing about $1 million to repair that. The heating and cooling system in there is a disaster. We keep it going, but it’s pretty expensive.”
In an August meeting, the school board discussed the possibility of closing and selling the Gateway Education Center while also moving the Center’s programs to other buildings within the school district.
“We closed that building and built a new Madison [Elementary School] for a reason,” said LeMasters. “But we kind of needed space as a temporary thing and it was re-opened. I think the timeframe to close it is upon us. We have facilities we can move the current programming to. I want those kids to be in a facility that’s clean, bright and inviting. I know we’ve had this discussion for a couple years, but now is the time for a decision. We have places to make the transition work.”
A decision regarding Gateway Education Center’s future has not been finalized.
Board members also discussed school safety and how staff handles false alarms regarding crisis situations.
“We have really pushed the ‘see something, say something’ motto,” said Dani Barkey, WCS communications and accountability officer. “But at the same time, when we do have false reporting, we make sure to follow through with consequences and take that very seriously.”
“Any time there is a false report that happens, it wastes a lot of people’s time,” said Hoffert. “It takes away instructional time, too. If there are students caught making false allegations, we will prosecute to the full extent of the law. Intended false reports like pulling a fire alarm when there’s not a fire are federal offenses.”
Betty O’Hara, WCS human resources generalist and analyst, also presented an update on employing personnel at the corporation’s facilities.
“We’ve filled three teaching positions, but still have open positions for paraprofessionals, a network administrator, and custodians, bus drivers and cooks,” said O’Hara.
At the end of the meeting, a public hearing was held on a tentative agreement for certified teaching contracts. The discussion focused on the details in the contract. The matter will be brought before board members at the next regular school board meeting for final ratification.
The board’s next regular meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14, and the next board work session will be at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12.