Projects at Northeast Dubois moving along


DUBOIS — Students may not be in Northeast Dubois High School, but there is still plenty of activity within its walls.

Construction crews are in the midst of preparing the building to house seventh through 12th grade beginning this fall, and the project is moving along despite the COVID-19 emergency.

At the school board meeting Tuesday, Clerk of the Works Gary Bair told the board that the project is moving ahead on schedule, and the first shipment of lockers for the seventh- and eighth-grade wing is expected next week.

“The middle school area is going to be where the bulk of the work is focused the next couple of weeks,” Bair said.

Dubbed Phase I, the current project includes creating a seventh- and eighth-grade wing at the high school that connects to the industrial technology and art classrooms via an additional hallway, as well as upgrades to science labs and career and industrial tech areas that will be shared between high school and seventh- and eighth-grade classes. The cost is roughly $4.37 million.

When students return to school in the fall, Northeast Dubois High School will be renamed Northeast Dubois Junior-Senior High School. The middle school will be renamed Northeast Dubois Intermediate School, and Dubois Elementary will be renamed Northeast Dubois Elementary. Celestine Elementary will not reopen.

While construction crews work on Phase I at the high school, architect George Link with VPS Architecture is working on Phase II. Link began working with the corporation in November when the board sought his expertise in plans to reconfigure the corporation and eliminate the need for a second property tax referendum. The current referendum was approved in 2016 and will expire in 2024.

Phase II — which will be a separate project from Phase I — will construct a new gym and renovate the areas around the current gym and the main entrance. At the board meeting Tuesday, Link said he’d like to send the project out to bid this summer. A construction timeline has not yet been set.

Link has been working on preliminary designs for the roughly $4.5 million project and has been meeting with school staff to tweak the designs. The last couple weeks have focused on the administration offices. With the preliminary designs nearing completion, Link said he’s also begun working on construction documents for the project.

Both projects are being funded through the corporation’s debt service fund, which can only be used for construction or major maintenance projects. The projects will not raise the property tax rate because the corporation has old debt falling off.

The board will hold the project hearing for Phase II at its May board meeting, set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 19, at the corporation office, 5379 E. Main St., Dubois. The hearing is open to the public.

The board also:

• Approved paying athletic and academic coaches for spring sports and activities despite cancellations due to COVID-19. Many of the spring activities began before schools closed, and coaches and sponsors often work year-round on the programs they lead.

• Approved adding 10 days to the contract for Northeast Dubois High School Social Worker Paige Mundy for 2020-21 as she will be doing scheduling for seventh and eighth grade students, year-end processes and new student registration for those grade levels.

• Approved making telemedicine available to non-certified staff members as part of a health care benefit. The cost to members will be $1 per pay period.

• Declared May 22 the last day of pay for non-certified staff.

• Approved Leslie Coatings Inc. of Indianapolis to resurface the high school track over the summer for $172,925.

• Approved meal price increases for the 2020-21 school year according to state guidelines. Student meal prices will increase by 15 cents, and adult meal prices will increase by 25 cents.

• Heard an update on COVID-19 practices from Superintendent Bill Hochgesang. The corporation’s policies are up to date with insurance, grant and legal requirements.

• Approved holding the project hearing at the board’s May 19 meeting, set for 7 p.m. at the corporation office, 5379 E. Main St. Dubois.

• Congratulated the boys basketball team on winning sectionals before the season was canceled due to COVID-19.

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