Southwest Dubois construction to begin

Christine Stephenson/The Herald
Construction on the new Southwest Dubois County School Corporation athletic facility and administrative office are set to begin within the next month or so. Earlier this week, the bonds were sold and $5,399,453 was deposited into the construction account for project expenses, Phil Schneider, the corporation's attorney, said at a Thursday school board meeting.

By CHRISTINE STEPHENSON
cstephenson@dcherald.com

HUNTINGBURG — Renovation plans for the Southwest Dubois County School Corporation, including a new athletic facility, administration building and other improvements, are on track to all begin construction within the next month or so.

Renovation plans, including project cost estimates, were first announced at a special meeting in January. The school board then approved a lease and resolution for project funding in March, in which it agreed to appropriate no more than $5,575,000.

Earlier this week, the bonds were sold and $5,399,453 was deposited into the construction account for project expenses, Phil Schneider, the corporation's attorney, said at a Thursday school board meeting. The net interest rate, 1.53%, is lower than the corporation was expecting.

Contractors recently began moving dirt for the new access road on the south side of campus, Superintendent Tim LaGrange said. Work will likely begin on the corporation office by the end of September, he said, and work on the new athletic facility will likely begin toward the end of October. The projects will run concurrently and are set to be complete 12 months from their construction start dates.

The new athletic facility will replace the Maple Park gym, which has not been used for more than a year and has led to other facilities being overused, LaGrange said at a previous board meeting. The facility, which will be just south of the football field area, will have turf, a metal roof, equipment such as batting cages, restrooms, a concession area and storage. It will be used primarily for indoor practices during inclement weather.

The new corporation office will be built at the corner of U.S. 231 and Sunset Drive. Other smaller projects, such as soccer field improvements and sewer extensions, will also be covered by the project budget.

The corporation is also planning capital projects that will take place throughout 2022, which would be covered by the corporation's operations fund. The school board held a public hearing for the proposed 2022 budget, capital projects plan and school bus replacement plan Thursday.

The capital projects are set to be adopted at the board's next meeting Oct. 14.

The capital projects, which are expected to begin within the three years immediately following the adoption date, range from $1 million to less than $50,000 in estimated costs. The corporation's proposed 2022 budget is an estimated $23,745,308. The dates in which the projects would be started and completed are projections, LaGrange said.

One capital project is Southridge High School gym renovation, whicih would include roof replacement, interior paint, acoustics, HVAC and floor finish. It would begin March 2022 and end in September. The project is estimated to cost $1 million.

Upgrades to the auditorium stage are also on the list. This is projected to begin in January 2022 and be complete before the start of 2023. The project is estimated to cost $500,000. A pool renovation project, which is projected to take place at the same time, which would cost an estimated $750,000.

Other projects include replacing the chiller at Holland Elementary School, electrical upgrades at Memorial Gym and replacing the sidewalk at Southridge High School.

The school board also held a public hearing for the acquisition of another school bus for the corporation in response to increasing enrollment over the past two years. The extra bus will also help eliminate double routes.

The bus replacement, as well as the list of projects, will be adopted in October.

The school board also:

• Acknowledged Holland Elementary School received a $20,000 grant funded through Vincennes University and the Indiana Manufacturing Competitiveness Center for the creation and equipment of a STEM lab. The school is in the process of becoming a STEM-certified school.

• Approved field trip requests for Holland Elementary kindergarten and first grade to Trunnel Farm Market on Oct. 5 and Southridge Middle School eighth grade to Washington, D.C., Sept. 6-10, 2022.

• Approved the resignations of Alison Neal, Southridge Middle School special needs teacher; Ellen Bough, Huntingburg Elementary School custodian; Wanda Miller, Huntingburg Elementary School assistant; Elizabeth Wertman, Southridge Middle School special needs assistant; Jaclyn Bolen, Southridge food service; Mike Niehaus, Huntingburg Elementary School custodian; Teresa Kendall, Holland Elementary School assistant; and Rhegann Fetter, Southridge Middle School cheer coach.

• Approved the hiring of Charbel Alcantara, Southridge Middle School EL assistant; Ezequiel Valenciano, Southridge High School food service student worker; Jordan Roos, Huntingburg Elementary School preschool assistant; and Elizabeth Wertman, Southridge Middle School track.

• Approved volunteers Christy Nalley, Brooke Nichter, Jim Meyer and Tyler Rainey for the 2022 Southridge Middle School Washington D.C. trip and Rachel Roy for the Southridge High School band.

• Approved the City of Huntingburg Park and Recreation indoor walking program, which begins Oct. 1.




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