News and Tribune

September 3, 2013

Greater Clark approves facilities study

School closures, additions could come from results


JEFFERSONVILLE — Looking at the needs of the corporation’s facilities in the long term, an architectural firm was selected to conduct a facilities study for Greater Clark County Schools at Tuesday’s board of trustees meeting.

Along with looking at the condition of facilities, their capacities and whether more schools are needed, the study could also look at redistricting or closing schools.

Andrew Melin, superintendent, said the $100,000 study — awarded to Jeffersonville-based Kovert Hawkins Architects — will take an in-depth look at the direction the district needs to take with its buildings, staff and students.

“The price may seem to be high, but it’s a very comprehensive analysis of every building, every piece of property we have in our school corporation,” Melin said. “[It will be] looking at exactly what we need to do to our buildings, what are our priorities. There are a lot of big factors that we need to consider that this study will allow us to bring forward.”

In January, Melin said some of the goals of the strategic planning committee for the district were to look at a number of cost-saving measures for the district. He did not exclude school closures from those possibilities.

Under the previous superintendent, Stephen Daeschner, the administration and board examined the possibility of closing Maple Elementary School in Jeffersonville and moving its students to nearby Spring Hill Elementary.

The board ultimately voted against the measure after many parents, teachers and students at the school rallied against the move.

Melin said the study should take between four and eight weeks to complete, which will examine demographics as well as physical structures.

While Kovert Hawkins will conduct the study, the district won’t automatically award projects as a result from the study to the firm. Melin said any projects in excess of $150,000 would have to go through the standard bidding procedure, but Kovert Hawkins will be allowed to bid on projects.

The board approved the measure unanimously, with board member Nancy Kraft absent.

In other business:

• The board also began the process to issue bonds for projects throughout the district. The changes made to Parkview Middle School’s lease agreement with the district’s building corporation would allow a series of bonds to pay for security upgrades in every building, along with new boilers and renovations at Charlestown Middle School, New Washington Elementary School and Pleasant Ridge Elementary School.

Tom Dykiel, chief financial officer, said the security upgrades would cost about $980,000.

He said public hearings on the lease changes are scheduled for the board’s Oct. 22 meeting. The board also gave the district permission to advertise the hearings.

• The board unanimously approved an interlocal agreement and resolution with the city of Jeffersonville to install a traffic light at the corner of Thompson Lane and Ind. 62. Sandra Lewis, general counsel, said the intersection has been a safety concern for a number of years, causing some accidents. The city’s redevelopment commission and city council passed their respective resolutions.