Northeast Dubois facilities study nearing its end


DUBOIS — Architect George Link is nearing the end of his study regarding the facilities needs of the Northeast Dubois County School Corporation.

The corporation hired Link, who works for VPS Architecture in Evansville, to help the school board plan facilities-use projects for up to $3 million. So far, Link has held two community discussion sessions and met with school staff to determine the corporation’s needs. On Tuesday, he gave a progress report at the school board’s December meeting.

“What I’ve heard is that the public will support technology, science and security,” Link told the board.

The corporation will pay off roughly $3 million worth of debt in its debt-service fund in 2020, allowing the corporation to take on more debt to complete maintenance projects. School corporations commonly take on more debt after paying some off because it helps keep the property tax rates level for those living in the corporation.

Northeast Dubois’ board chose to preface their maintenance projects with a needs study following a recommendation from the 2015 general fund feasibility study by Brookston-based Administrator Assistance that preceded the property tax referendum that passed in the 2016 election.

At the community sessions, discussions have centered around whether or not Celestine Elementary School will close, what the corporation has done with the general-fund money that comes from the referendum and how to use available facilities to enhance students’ education.

At both community sessions, taxpayers were adamant that the corporation not build new facilities. Tuesday night, Superintendent Bill Hochgesang and Board President Mary Pankey confirmed that the corporation is not considering any new construction. Updates to the facilities, however, are necessary.

“We have a high school that was built in the 70s,” Hochgesang said. “Education has changed since then, so our facilities need to change.”

Link said he will have ideas for renovations and cost estimates at the final community session, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 7, in the Northeast Dubois High School cafeteria, 4711 N Dubois Rd. NE, Dubois.

Hochgesang and board members will also be in attendance at the final session. At Link’s request, they did not attend the previous sessions.

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