Jasper Elementary to add four new classrooms

By CHRISTINE STEPHENSON
cstephenson@dcherald.com

JASPER — Jasper Elementary School is set to have four more classrooms by the end of 2022, which will make room for increased enrollment.

The Greater Jasper School Board gave approval to seek bids on the expansion at a Monday meeting. The addition, which will be added onto the southeast wing, will allow for about 120 more student spaces.

The project will be funded by the school corporation’s remaining $2.3 million in bonds, which can only be used for construction.

Greater Jasper Superintendent Tracy Lorey said the classrooms will be used by whatever grade level needs the extra space at the time, depending on enrollment. The addition will also allow for the school’s STEM room, which is currently used to house an additional class, to be used for its intended purpose again.

School board member Arlet Jackle stated concern about if the space will be enough, especially considering the school just opened in 2020.

“I feel that we don’t have adequate space for the students that we currently have,” she said. “I just pray that this is going to be enough.”

Lorey said the expansion will be enough to handle current enrollment, especially since Ireland Elementary School is also planning to expand in the future.

“We feel like this will definitely create enough space to manage what we currently have and give us a little bit of breathing room,” she said. “Nobody likes the idea of having to enter back into construction at this point, but we’ve got the ability to do it in a way that doesn’t affect our taxpayers any further … It’s a good problem if you have to grow.”

In total, there are about 900 students in kindergarten through fifth grade and about 80 in preschool. With the expansion, there will be room for more than 1,000 students. The school doesn’t need that much space right now, but may need it in the future.

Lorey added that if the corporation wants to expand the preschool in the future, it will need the extra space. Currently, there are attendance caps in preschool due to a required adult-to-child ratio, and the students only come in two days a week.

Right now, the corporation does not mandate where students attend elementary school. However, this could be an option to manage enrollment if needed.

“We still value the opportunity to give our parents choice,” Lorey said.

Bids will be awarded in October and construction is set to start in November and be completed by November 2022.

The school board also:

• Approved to advertise the annual budget of $42,036,814 with a tax rate of $1.7855 per hundred dollars of assessed value. The rate will likely be set at $1.10 per hundred dollars of assessed value once it’s adjusted by the state.

• Approved a new bus route to lessen overcrowding on six other routes. The route will cover Vine Street, the Holy Family area and West Sixth Street, but is also flexible.

• Approved an agreement with the City of Jasper that states the corporation will pave a portion of a parking lot near Alumni Stadium and will be reimbursed by the city.

• Approved the extension of a beverage contract between Jasper Middle School and Hedinger Beverage Distributing.

• Approved a lease agreement between the corporation and the Dubois, Spencer, Perry and Pike Exceptional Children’s Cooperative.

• Heard that 11,523 meals were served to students in the corporation through the summer meal program.

• Approved the requests for leave from Kasey Young, Jasper Middle School; Trisha Pfau, Jasper Elementary School; Sharon Loveless, Ireland Elementary School; and Grace Dekemper, DSP.

• Approved the resignations of Brian Lewis, athletic director; Brooke Lewis, Jasper Elementary School teacher; Wes Laake, Jasper Elementary School teacher; Tina Hasenour, 28-hour instructional assistant at Jasper Elementary School; Theresa Merkley, 28-hour instructional assistant/corporation bus driver at Jasper Elementary School; Brittany Nottingham, 30-hour instructional assistant at Jasper Elementary School; Marissa Wehr, assistant softball coach at Jasper High School; Tara Eckman, assistant cross country coach at Jasper High School; Christine Waddell, girls assistant basketball coach at Jasper Middle School; and Klay Kress, behavior specialist.

• Approved the staff recommendations of Phil Kendall, Jasper High School athletic director; Cam Harris, assistant athletic director at Jasper High School; Kristin Gutgsell, biology teacher at Jasper High School; Christine Shafer, teacher at Jasper Elementary School; Shannon Elkins, teacher at Jasper Elementary School; Megan Wehr, increase 35 to 40 hours a week at Jasper High School; William Schmidt, custodian/corporation bus driver at Jasper Elementary School; Michelle Wehr, 30-hour ENL instructional assistant at Jasper Elementary School; Brittany Rollins, 28-hour Title I instructional assistant at Jasper Elementary School; Carie Gates, 28-hour instructional assistant at Jasper Elementary School; Ruth Hundley, 28-hour Title I instructional assistant at Jasper Elementary School; Lexi Matute, 28-hour Title I instructional assistant at Jasper Elementary School; Stephanie Wood, 28-hour instructional assistant at Jasper Middle School; Chelsea Hopf, 28-hour instructional assistant/bus driver at Jasper Middle School; Kim Gentry, bus supervision at Jasper Elementary School; Jane Seidl, 20-hour cafeteria at Ireland Elementary School; Shelby Sitzman, assistant softball coach at Jasper High School; Adam Gilbert, assistant cross country coach at Jasper High School; Jeremy Wolf, boys middle school assistant cross country coach at Jasper Middle School; Amy Bastien, girls middle school assistant cross country coach at Jasper Middle School; Bill Dickenson, assistant football coach at Jasper Middle School; and Ashley Wriston, behavior specialist at DSP co-op.




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