By Leah Sander
AKRON — Plans for renovating Tippecanoe Valley High School are progressing.
At its regular school board meeting on Monday, May 17, at Akron Elementary School, the Tippecanoe Valley School Corp. had its first preliminary hearing on the project, estimated to cost more than $14 million.
The corporation already had two meetings in March for the public to weigh in. Following further analysis, the corporation presented a refined plan Monday.
Fanning Howey is the project’s architect, and The Skillman Corp., which oversaw the Akron project completed in 2018, will serve as the construction manager.
Present at the meeting were Fanning Howey Project Manager Mike Schipp and The Skillman Corp. Senior Vice President Scott Cherry. Also attending were Baker Tilly Financial Municipal Advisor Brock Bowsher and Ice Miller Bond and Legal Counsel Partner Jane Herndon.
TVSC Superintendent Blaine Conley and Schipp presented the basics of the condensed project at the meeting.
The project would add an auditorium, a bigger weight room, a new wrestling area, a fieldhouse and an expanded agriculture area.
At the pool, there will be improved seating, a new deck and new mechanical systems. The high school would also like to update security and energy measures at the school.
Cherry gave an overview of the estimated cost and the potential timeline.
The project is estimated at $14,359,682, which breaks down to $12,059,182 in construction and $2,300,500 in soft costs like soil borings and surveying.
Bids will be put out in January 2022, with construction to tentatively start in spring 2022. The completion date is July 2023.
Valley is seeking to pay for the project using bonds, which won’t raise taxes for those in the community.
Bowsher showed what that might look like using bonds totaling $16,210,000, with a repayment term of 19 years, 11 months.
Following the presentation, members from the public were allowed to speak in favor of or against the plan.
Only one person, Akron resident Kirk Robinson, chose to speak, and was in favor of the project.
Robinson shared some history of what it was like to be one of the first students to go to school at TVHS when it was built in the 1970s. He also said he thought the corporation did an excellent job with the Akron building project.
“But the board made great decisions when designing this building, and I believe they’re doing the very same thing for this expansion,” he said. “I have to agree with this decision to move forward with the modernization necessary to keep this school fresh and ready for the future for what seems to be the norm with many schools now competing not only for students but competing for quality teachers … So I’m proud of our school, I’m proud of our leadership, for making sure that we’re going to be here in another 50 years.”
The public will have another opportunity to speak at the second preliminary determination hearing at 6 p.m. Monday, May 24, at Mentone Elementary School. Leaders also are planning to vote on the continuance of the project at that meeting.