Tipp City weighs building new school

Tipp City Exempted Village School District leaders are pleading for more public input as time nears for key decisions regarding a possible bond issue request to build new classrooms.

The effort to get word out intensified following a January professional survey in which more than 60 percent of those responding said they had heard little or nothing about a possible construction project.

The new Tippecanoe High School opened in 2004 and the district has been weighing options for three years on what to do about prekindergarten through grade eight classrooms.

A facilities committee of school representatives and community members narrowed options to two possible scenarios. Both involve construction off North Hyatt Street where L.T. Ball Intermediate, Tippecanoe Middle School and Nevin Coppock Elementary are located.

The new building(s) would accommodate today’s technology and air conditioning for a better learning environment, according to the committee.

“The board will need to decide whether or not to proceed with a building program. And, if we do decide to proceed, then the board will need to decide what the master plan will look like, scope of work, timing of bond issue, locally funded initiatives, millage rates, etcetera,” said Scott Dixon, board president.

Dixon said he expects the board to begin “to narrow the scope of view” beginning at a board work session at 6 p.m. Monday.

The board will know by July whether the state will provide 26 percent project funding, estimated at around $10 million, for classroom construction. The cost of the two scenarios proposed ranges from $38.8 million to $41.5 million.

The board would decide the size of a proposed bond issue to build classrooms. It also could seek added dollars for 100 percent locally funded projects, such as an athletic complex and/or an auxiliary high school gym.

Survey findings were outlined at a March 10 community meeting by Mike Ruetschle of Ruetschle Architects, who has been working on the facilities planning. The board paid Paul Fallon Associates $10,000 to do the survey.

Of those surveyed more than 80 percent said the schools were doing an excellent or good job. While good news for the district, the opinion also poses challenges in selling the need for a new building, Ruetschle said.

Around 50 people, including school administrators, attended the community meeting. “Obviously this is a small segment of our population. We need a much larger segment … to understand what we are trying to do, and get your opinion,” Superintendent John Kronour said. He asked participants to encourage others to give their opinions.

Information on the facilities planning is on the district’s website at www.tippcityschools.com. Kronour said any resident with questions or comments is welcome to contact the superintendent or any board member. Contact information also is listed on the website.

Contact this reporter at nancykburr@aol.com

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