Southwest’s project plans progress

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

HUNTINGBURG — Plans to build a new athletic facility, construct a new administration building and make improvements at the high school continue to progress for the Southwest Dubois County School Corporation.

The school district has entered into a lease agreement with the Dubois County Multi School Building Corporation and has agreed to appropriate no more than $5,575,000 for improvements.

That is how much the district expects to raise through bonds for the work, said Phil Schneider, attorney for the school district.

The Southwest Dubos School Board approved the lease and resolution for the funding at its meeting last week.

The district is looking to construct a new indoor facility for outdoor sports training that will be called the Raider Athletic Facility, or RAC, to replace the Maple Park gym. It will have a metal roos, turf, equipment such as batting cages, and restrooms, a concession area and storage. A new corporation office will be built at the corner of U.S. 231 and Sunset Drive. Other improvements planned in the project are upgrading stage equipment at the high school, improving the soccer field and reorienting it to face north-south for safety purposes, adding sewer extensions to eliminate forced mains, and constructing a new auxiliary road to connect to South 750 West, and other smaller renovations.

The Southwest Dubois County Multi School Building Corporation was created about 10 years ago to handle financing for the renovations that were done at Southridge High School.

In the lease, the district is selling to the building corporation land that sits just south of the football field area, Schneider said. The land will be the future site of the athletic training facility. “It may have artificial turf, flooring. But it’s primarily for batting and volleyball and various practices, even indoor band practices,” Schneider said. “It will be a place where athletes can go to practice during inclement weather.”

The district is also selling to the building corporation the portion of the high school building that comprises the auditorium, the cafeteria area, the pool area and the auxiliary gym, which are south of the classrooms.

“The building corporation currently owns, since 2010, all the classrooms portion of a high school,” Schneider said. ”This would be the other portion, the more auxiliary type portions.”

The building corporation will lease the property back to the school corporation and the school corporation will pay lease payments “that are sufficient to pay off the bonds over time,” he said.

The lease agreement is being published and the public has a 30-day remonstration period to object or express concerns.

The school district is also in negotiations to purchase from the City of Huntingburg land at U.S. 231 and Sunset Drive in front of the Southridge school complex. Schneider is not involved in the negotiations because he is the official attorney for both entities.

“I removed myself from that process,” he said, “because I don’t want there to be a conflict.”

The school board agreed last week to appropriate up to $5,575,000 for the project. “The school corporation has to actually appropriate the funds that are going to be spent on the school improvement project,” Schneider said. “That was action taken to appropriate those funds when they are received, after the sale of the bonds.”

If all goes according to plan, the project will likely be sent out for bids in the spring, after the board receives and approves bid specifications. Bonds would be sold shortly after, Schneider said. Construction could begin in the summer or fall.




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