District building needs discussed at GCSC board meeting

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

At a rather brief monthly meeting Monday night, the Greencastle Community School Corporation (GCSC) school board addressed a number of issues, chief among them being the variety of building needs in the coming years.

Utilizing the bond system, the corporation is able to get payments for large-scale projects in $2 million increments at no additional cost to taxpayers.

With an existing bond payment being completed in January, another $2 million bond will become available for the school.

Superintendent Dawn Puckett brought multiple projects to the attention of the board, emphasizing the need to prioritize what is important and what will most positively impact the student body.

"It's difficult to make determinations on who gets what first," she said.

The City of Greencastle recently approved a zoning variance for the property owned by GCSC at 310 College Ave., allowing for a renovations of the bus garage at that location.

A major overhaul of the transportation garage was one of the projects discussed. While the buses are in good shape, they are larger than they used to be, meaning that many of them do not fit under cover. Exposed to the elements, the buses require longer warming up times. Often "thawing out" for an hour, if covered and plugged-in that time could be reduced by at least half, saving on gasoline and time.

The facilities that mechanics use to fix the buses were also a concern as they flood with water when it rains and present a cumbersome approach to getting underneath the buses to perform maintenance and repairs.

An estimated cost of the changes would require most of the $2 million grant.

Also discussed were growth concerns for both Ridpath Primary and the corporation's central office, since the two are located in the same building.

Ridpath Primary has lost one-third of its media center for the technology department, is in need of more space for physical and occupational therapy privacy and, according to Puckett, the school would run into problems housing students if enrollment numbers next year were anything like they were this year.

This would require busing students to a school outside of their neighborhood, something Puckett obviously wants to avoid.

Issues with the central office being tight on space were also presented by Puckett.

"I think it has a strong impact on our functionality," she told the board.

A desire to maintain strong confidentiality assurances was mentioned as an added difficulty with the close proximity of the offices.

Puckett told the board that ultimately, neither Ridpath nor the central office can function at full effectiveness while they share the same building.

Costs of the construction Puckett discussed were roughly estimated at around $1.7 million.

Upgrading lawn equipment and replacing the lighting at Parker Auditorium were also discussed as GCSC needs in the near future.

In other business:

* Puckett informed the board that the Greencastle School Corporation (in a partnership with Cloverdale, North Putnam and South Putnam community school corporations) was selected as one of seven semi-finalists to receive a $100,000 Envision Grant from the Putnam County Community Foundation.

* The second "Holiday Drive-Thru Breakfast" has been scheduled for Monday, May 15 beginning at 6:45 a.m. The event provides free breakfast to staff members during a day of Professional Learning Community meetings.

* The board approved numerous GHS athletic hires, including Garry Anderson as head boys' and head girls' track coach; Diana Divine as winter athletic events manager; Mathew Welker as freshman girls' basketball coach and David Faust as volunteer varsity boys' basketball statistician.

* The board approved multiple substitute hires, including Courtney Morgan as noon aide at Ridpath Elementary; Kristy Stockall; Kasey Neely; Amanda Dorsett; Lori Thomas; Dee Wood; and Jessica Faust as a temporary teacher for Tiffany Grabinsky at Tzouanakis Intermediate.

* The board approved hiring Ronald Schillings as transportation department mechanic; Debra Sabin as instructional assistant; Eleanor Boyle and Billie Jo Bumgardner as GHS cafeteria assistants; a transfer as cafeteria cashier from Tzouankis Intermediate to Ridpath Elementary for Dawn Stoltey and a transfer as cafeteria cashier from GHS to Tzouanakis Intermediate for Darlena McCarter.

* The board also approved family medical leaves for Jenny Riggle from Deer Meadow Elementary; Ray June Turner from GCSC; Don McCammack from the maintenance department; Jody Cowger from the transportation department and Kaitlyn Hicks for both family medical as well as maternity leave from Tzouanakis Intermediate.

* Resignations were approved for Julie Shock as instructional assistant at Tzouankis Intermediate (effective immediately); Dana Robinson as noon aide at Deer Meadow Primary (effective Nov. 10, 2014) and Jayne Ann Hill as athletic secretary at GHS (effective Jan. 6, 2015).

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