School board president says action needed

Elementary buildings are of the greatest concern.

Tipp City Exempted Village Schools leaders said they have a lot of information to collect and a lot to talk about on the road to developing a master facility plan.

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The overall project would include classroom buildings including the aging Nevin Coppock and Broadway elementary schools, the L.T. Ball intermediate School, Tippecanoe Middle School and Tippecanoe High School, which is the district’s newest building.

Board President Sam Spano said buildings of greatest concern are the elementary schools, followed by the middle and intermediate school buildings.

The cost of maintaining the elementary schools continues to be a growing concern, said district Treasurer Dave Stevens. “The upkeep on those buildings will keep moving up and up,” he said.

In addition, Gary Pfister, director of services, said the district can’t wait too much longer before doing something about the Broadway and Nevin Coppock buildings, which he said, “have so many issues.”

The board recently heard about a potential program to renovate the middle school and L.T. Ball buildings using the state House Bill 53 to borrow money that would be paid back using existing money, not a bond issue. The board Jan. 8 heard an estimated cost for that project at $7.3 million.

If that plan or something similar could be pursued, the board then could turn attention to replacing Nevin Coppock and Broadway schools, which would involve a bond issue of some form.

“We have a lot of work to do. We have to reach out to a lot of people,” Spano said.

The facility plan also would include work to the mid-2000s high school — possibly more parking and an auxiliary gym among other projects.

It also would look at athletic facilities including a stadium along with needed work at the track, tennis courts and bleachers and lights at the fields near L.T. Ball, Spano said. The nonprofit Tipp Pride Association is working to raise $4.9 million for a proposed stadium project at City Park.

Among other topics the board touched on during its discussions:

• Spano said more information is being collected on another potential option – an expedited local partnership program with the state.

• The existing permanent improvements levy expires in 2019.

• The need to get the community involved in planning.

• Whether the district should replace the elementary schools and pay for a project 100 percent locally versus waiting for state money to come available to help pay for a project.

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