North Spencer eyes updates, renovations

By LEANN BURKE
lburke@dcherald.com

LINCOLN CITY — Administrators at the North Spencer County School Corporation are preparing for updates and renovations across the school district.

At the school board’s second September meeting, board members approved an underwriter/placement agent engagement agreement with Jim Elizondo of Stifel Public Finance of Fort Wayne that allows the school corporation to seek consulting from a financial adviser on financial opportunities that will be available in the 2022-23 school year through the school’s debt service fund. Although the planning phase for the upcoming projects is just beginning, Superintendent Dan Scherry said the district is considering exclusively upgrades and renovations.

“We’re really not looking at any new construction,” he said.

Some of the larger projects that have already come up are HVAC system upgrades at all four corporation elementary schools — Nancy Hanks in Ferdinand, Lincoln Trail in Lamar, David Turnham Education Center in Dale and Chrisney Elementary in Chrisney — and updates to elementary classrooms to make them more accessible to technology. At Heritage Hills High School, renovating the media center to equip it for more technology also came up.

“We need it to be more 21st-century-ready,” Scherry said.

Right now, the process is in the first phases, so the corporation has been working with its clerk of the works, The Stenftenagel Group of Jasper, to determine needs and gather estimates. Scherry expects that work to finish in March, at which point the board will determine which projects are priorities and set a budget for this round of work.

The corporation is beginning the work now because it will soon have bonds from previous projects paid off. Bonds are repaid through school’s debt service funds, which are funded through property taxes. In order to keep a steady property tax rate, schools throughout the state take on new debt as old debt is paid off.

“We want to keep our tax rate very stable and take care of our facilities with as little burden on our taxpayers as possible,” Scherry said.

The North Spencer School Board meets on the second and fourth Mondays of the month at 6 p.m. CT at the corporation office, 3720 E. State Road 162, Lincoln City. The meetings are open to the public.




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