Residents hear plan for school

Friday, April 27, 2007

CLOVERDALE -- The Cloverdale Community School Corp. School Board has asked its public for input and has received it. Twice.

On Wednesday, three board members met with a handful of residents in the high school cafeteria hoping to receive information from the public regarding a recent project it has been working on with architectural firm Odle McGuire and Shook, Indianapolis.

The corporation conducted a facility study starting in 2004 and concluded that several upgrades were needed.

"A long-range facility plan is certainly in the works," CCSC Supt. Carrie Milner told the residents Wednesday. "But we are still discussing. This is something we want to do right."

On Wednesday, the residents at the meeting were treated to a 30-minute presentation from Odle McGuire and Shook representatives and Educational Services representative Nate Day.

Current plans call for health, safety and code compliance improvements to corporation facilities, including:

  • Gymnasium bleachers and guardrail replacement for the high school basketball gym, and

  • Security access control at all three corporation buildings.

    In addition, the plan calls for a sports and athletic project, including:

  • Replacement of the football field bleachers and press box and accessibility in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act,

  • Baseball field improvements to include a regrade, and

  • Athletic field lighting,

  • Improved ventilation in locker rooms, and

  • Replacing the elementary gym floor.

    The project also calls for improved power distribution for the baseball and football fields, a new storage room addition for the administration building, door replacement at the high school, door cylinder replacement, replacing air handlers in certain classrooms, and a new 15-car parking lot next to the Knoy Research Center which would double as handicap accessible parking during football season.

    Following the Odle McGuire and Shook portion of the presentation, Day told the crowd that the projected cost for the project was estimated at $1.8 million.

    Day then explained that if all the projects were tackled at once, the school would have to borrow close to $2.4 million. However, if the board chose not to complete all the projects or possibly use funds on hand, he said the corporation would have to borrow $1.84 million.

    Day also informed those in attendance Wednesday of tax rate ramifications, saying that if the corporation borrowed either the full or partial amounts, taxes would rise.

    Following the complete presentation, Cloverdale resident Kevin Fowler asked the board to consider completing the project in small installments, saying he had recently heard that property taxes were going to rise during the next few years.

    "What I would like you to concentrate on is what is needed, not what is wanted," Fowler said. "This is about what we need."

    Several residents at Wednesday's meeting echoed Fowler's sentiments.

    Dewey Garrett said he was in favor of some of the upgrades, but not all of them, including the proposed addition to the administration building. He added he would prefer the board consider completing the project in phases.

    "Overall, I think we really need the project," he said. "But I really don't want to raise taxes."

    Resident Tony Hacker, who was elected to the school board in November, said he was concerned that most of the upgrades were for athletics only.

    "I want to make sure we're not overlooking academics," he said "We're looking at sinking a lot of money into athletics, which are important. But let's not overlook anything."

    Hacker also expressed concern regarding the proposed security changes, which included an access control system for all three corporation buildings in addition to card readers, motion detectors and additional security cameras. He called the security additions "overkill."

    Resident Elaine Pearson also expressed concern regarding a schedule that was handed out Wednesday.

    The proposed schedule laid out the entire plan and stated that construction for the project could begin in December and completed in June 2008.

    Pearson said she hoped the board would think the project through "properly," and said the schedule made it appear as if the board had already made up its mind to move ahead with the project despite scheduling two meetings with the public.

    She also expressed concern about the possibility of raising taxes.

    "I think it's going to be an expensive project," Pearson said.

    "This isn't set in stone," board member Pamelia Hepfer responded.

    The board meets regularly on the second Monday of each month at the corporation administration building. Its next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m., May 14.

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