By Tim Ashley
SYRACUSE — A building formerly used by Alan Tehan on Sycamore Street in Syracuse is getting a fresh coat of paint, new carpeting, computer wiring, furniture, landscaping and a new parking area.
By mid to late August it will be transformed into the new home of the central office of the Wawasee Community School Corporation.
Growth of the Pathways Cooperative programs is a major reason prompting the move of the central office. More space is needed to accommodate several Pathways programs and the new buildings will allow for more space.
There are three buildings on the property and the school corporation will eventually use all three. The central office staff and likely a few others will use the main building. Attached to it by a hallway is a large building that will be used by the marine trades program of the Pathways Cooperative. The program had outgrown its facility on Chicago Street.
There was not enough room to close the overhead doors when larger trailers or boats were brought in. But the new facility will have considerably more space for students to repair boat motors, winterize boats and more. It is also hoped maybe a year or so later a painting booth can be installed to be used for boats and also some cars from the automotive services program.
The third building will be used for the Warrior Auto Spa, a life skills class giving students the opportunity to wash and detail automobiles and learn business skills. Another area in the same building will be used for the Gone Boarding class where wakeboards, skateboards and other types of boards are built by students.
Other space will possibly be used for training and it is hoped school board meetings will be held there eventually.
Dr. Tom Edington, superintendent of the school corporation, said the current central office will be renovated during the 2020-21 school year by building trades students and a local contractor. That space will then eventually be used for Pathways programs including CNA nursing, the Power Up class, possibly a deli for use by culinary arts students and also possibly an entrepreneur academy.
Edington said discussions have taken place about also moving the alternative school into the renovated building. It is currently located in a modular building across the parking lot to the south.
“We hope to install a solar field at the (new) site to eliminate electric bills for the next several decades,” he said.
Furniture for the new central office that is being shipped from Michigan will likely be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Edington noted the current central office was built at about the same time Wawasee High School was built in the late 1960s. It was renovated and added to in 1992 at the same time a new wing was added to the north end of the high school.
For a few years prior to when the central office was built, there was no “official” home of the school corporation. Lakeland School Corporation, later renamed the Wawasee Community School Corporation, was formed a few years prior to the building of the high school.
Henry Smith, who was the first principal of the high school and later the superintendent of the school corporation, said he recalled being interviewed for the principal position in a house used by the superintendent as an office and located just south of the current central office. It may have been located where the alternative school is now or on what is now a small empty lot to the south of that.
Smith said the house was sold by the school corporation when the central office was built.