The Value City property was originally purchased by the town’s redevelopment commission to help with the viability of the Clarksville Little League Park, Popp said, and the park remains a priority for the town. Nearby access and parking is owned by The Salvation Army, Popp said.
“At a minimum, we need a practice field so that the kids do not have to practice on the [main] field. We need probably a football, soccer [field],” Popp said. “This would be the Little Generals. Now the Little Generals are currently using the high school and that’s good, but I think the town should always have space available in case their space that they’re using that you do not own would [not] be available.”
Popp also expressed concern about the New Tech school taking students — and therefore, revenue — from other school corporations, as Greater Clark County Schools and West Clark Community Schools also draw students from the town.
“What is a plus for one school system can definitely be a negative for the others. Now, I guess if I had my druthers, I would sure like to see Clarksville, Greater Clark and West Clark working together and somehow allowing students to attend this tech school where they would not be losing money,” Popp said. “In other words, a cooperation, a partnering of the school systems — it would be great if you had a tech school where you would not have just in one school system but they actually would be working with one another and not taking dollars from the other ones’ budget.”
NEW TECH’S FUTURE WITHOUT VALUE CITY
As for New Tech, if Value City isn’t a viable option, Clarksville schools will have to consider using Clarksville Middle School to house the new learning model, Wilson said.
There are numerous problems with using the middle school, and several millions of dollars would have to be spent to bring the building up to code, which could mean a new tax rate being imposed on those in the Clarksville schools district.
“We don’t want to get into that,” Wilson said. “If we can use the Value City facility, we can phase things in.”
Wilson pointed out that the school system’s financial situation will improve in 2016 with the retirement of a bond issue for Clarksville High School.
“It gives us so much more flexibility that we won’t have to do anything or even look at anything with taxes, which we don’t want to do,” Wilson said.