Board to vote next month on high school project

Shawn Hardy news@echo-pilot.com

The Greencastle-Antrim School Board is expected to vote next month on whether to proceed with a building project estimated at more than $17 million.

Dr. Kendra Trail, superintendent, said she will make a recommendation, most likely at the Feb. 6 meeting, about proceeding with a renovation and addition project at Greencastle-Antrim High School, as well as the replacement of the middle school roof, work estimated at $17.5 million.

A second-floor district administrative office area above the proposed alternative education area at the high school could be considered as an alternate to the contract bid, Trail said at Thursday's board meeting. Estimated cost with the district administrative office is $19.9 million.

Discussion had been geared more toward the primary and elementary schools in long-range, $50 million building planning until last fall. The high school moved to the front of the list because work there is eligible for reimbursement from the state, which could range from about $5.7 to $6 million.

Dr. Ed Rife, high school principal, said the additions and renovations are focused on students and include:

  1. Addition of an autistic support classroom
  2. Life skills moves to a larger classroom to better meet students' needs
  3. Wellness/driver's education would have a dedicated classroom
  4. Improved science classrooms and labs
  5. Additional seating in the cafeteria to assist with increasing class sizes
  6. Flexibility of additional classrooms in the future, as needed, without major renovation
  7. Wrestling room would return to high school (currently in primary school)
  8. Wrestling room creates options for wellness classes and after-school gym use
  9. Increases size of weight room and cardio room to better meet needs of classes and sports teams
  10. Classrooms arranged by department, making it easier to share materials and equipment and collaborate
  11. Creates traffic flow options in the building
  12. Alternative education addition

Reimbursement for a high school project is through the state PLANCON program and the clock is ticking. To get the money, the district will need to open bids by July 2021, Trail told the board. Design work needs to start soon to meet that deadline.