The Tippecanoe Valley School Board had the first preliminary determination public hearing for the high school building project.
The estimated budget for the project is $14,359,682. It will not affect the tax rate, and the purpose is to address the needs at the high school, TVSC Superintendent Blaine Conley said.
He gave a history of major construction projects in the corporation, starting with the development of the corporation in 1962 and the high school opening in 1975. The most recent project was in 2018 of the Akron Elementary School.
Facility needs at the high school that will be addressed in the new construction include an auditorium, relocation and expansion of the agriculture facility, enhancing safety and security, updating the pool mechanical systems, including the deck and addition of spectator seating, construction of a weight room, locker rooms and wrestling room, expansion of the auxiliary gym to accommodate practices, utilize weekend activities and allow for more community opportunities for use, improve the school’s energy efficiency and updating the building envelope/casting.
“In order to maintain and attract new students, we must provide quality facilities that are safe and conducive to modern learning,” Conley said.
The loan will be paid off in 19 years and 11 months.
Kirk Robinson was the only person to issue a public comment. He said he was a sophomore when TVHS opened in 1975.
“Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation leaders do a good job staying progressive, and the latest example is Akron Elementary,” Robinson said, offering his support for the project, which ended with a round of applause from the audience.
Another public hearing for comment will be at 6 p.m. Monday at Mentone Elementary School.
Construction is planned to begin in March or April 2022, with completion in July 2023.
In other business, the Board:
• Heard from Tippecanoe Valley Middle School Principal Scott Backus and Tippecanoe Valley High School Principal Brandon Kresca about virtual learning options available next school year.
Backus said the middle school had a peak of more than 60 students who chose the virtual learning option this year due to COVID-19 concerns and/or restrictions, but that number is down to 19.
Next school year, middle school students who want to choose the virtual process will have to complete an application and come in for an interview with a parent or guardian explaining the concerns and why the virtual choice is what they want to do.
Kresca said this year the high school shifted around a teacher’s schedule so she is able to have two periods during the day to teach and help virtual learning students.
The high school will continue with that path next year, but Kresca said he cannot guarantee students who choose virtual options will meet all the requirements to graduate by going virtual alone. An example of that is perhaps some classes would require in-person instruction at the career center, he said.
Furthermore, both Backus and Kresca said students choosing the virtual option should understand they are being offered basic courses and advanced placement and dual credit options are not available.
• Accepted several grants, one of which was from Fulton County REMC Roundup for $1,000 to the high school.
The Indiana Department of Education and the Office of School Accountability and Accreditation recently named TVHS a “performance qualified high school” for the 2021-22 school year due to the performance of the school and being named an “A” high school once again for the 2019-20 school year, according to the school accountability standards.
With this grant, TVHS will continue to embrace and try to cultivate an environment where students want to learn rather than have to learn, starting with using the money to participate in a building-wide book study of “Empower: What Happens When Students Own Their Learning” by author A.J. Juliani. The money will buy a book for every staff member.
The school board also accepted a $551 grant to provide students in the life skills classroom at the middle school with engagement packs to take home for the summer that will include games, sensory items, snacks and educational projects.
Pike Lumber Company also donated $200 to Akron Elementary School for an end-of-the-year celebration for students and staff and was accepted by the board.
• Accepted the resignation of Akron Elementary School Principal Chrissy Mills, who has been teaching for 17 years at Valley. The board spoke about how much they will miss her and wished her well in her move to Georgia.
The next TVSC School Board meeting is 6 p.m. June 21 at Mentone Elementary School.