Two years after a bond issue failed, Tipp City Exempted Village Schools is taking a new approach with the community to gain support for school upgrades and the planning of a new school.
A possible road map — which would include construction of a pre-kindergarten through grade three building on the site of the Broadway Elementary School — was the focus of a community engagement meeting this week. About 100 community members met with administrators at L.T. Ball Intermediate School.
“This is a very important session for our community,” said Sam Spano, board of education president.
The board, which welcomed two new members in January, is talking with the community about facility needs following the 2016 defeat of a proposed bond issue that would have funded the new school.
After that request “failed terribly,” leaders tried to learn why, said Liz Robbins, district community relations coordinator.
Among criticisms heard about that request was the proposal didn’t include information on plans for grades four through eight and didn’t look at preserving any existing elementary through middle schools.
Concepts now being explored include both preserving some buildings while looking to replace others, said Gary Pfister, district director of services.
The district buildings include the newest, a high school that was built in 2004; Tippecanoe Middle School, built in 1964; L.T. Ball Intermediate, built in 1974; Nevin Coppock Elementary, built in 1959; and Broadway Elementary, built in 1952.
Pfister said the board is looking at renovating/updating LT. Ball and the middle school to add another 20-plus years of life using district permanent improvement levy dollars – not additional taxes – and then planning with the community a new pre-kindergarten through third-grade building that would require a bond issue.
“We are not asking for more money for the two buildings but are going to have to ask you for money to build a new building,” Pfister said.
If the board decides to move forward, the updates/renovations could begin as soon as this summer. Planning for a new building would take 12 months or longer.
Participants met in smaller groups to discuss what they had heard and to compile questions.
Reactions ranged from support for renovations to questions about whether the district would want to use state funding with a new building project and one group that said the concepts outlined seemed rushed. One group said its discussion centered primarily on security at buildings today, and how it would be addressed in any renovation project.
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