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The Journal Gazette

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Tuesday, August 13, 2019 1:00 am

FWCS board OKs improvements

$8.15 million for work at 27 district buildings

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

At a glance

A $8.15 million general obligation bond will fund these projects at Fort Wayne Community Schools:

• Renovations at two middle school music areas to support the B Instrumental program.

• Corridor lighting replacement and locker replacement or repairs at Fairfield Elementary School, Towles Intermediate School and Kekionga, Lakeside and Portage middle schools.

• Improvements to address Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility at buildings including the Grile Administration Center.

• Window replacement and masonry restoration at buildings including Study and Lincoln elementary schools and South Side High School.

• Roof repair, restoration or replacement at Helen P. Brown Natatorium, Northrop High School, and Fairfield, Forest Park, Harrison Hill and Washington elementary schools.

• Temperature control system upgrades at Lakeside Middle School, North Side High School and Adams, Franke Park and Shambaugh elementary schools.

• Replacement of chalkboards with markerboards at multiple facilities.

Source: Fort Wayne Community Schools

Fort Wayne Community Schools' plans to tackle $8.15 million in improvements at 27 buildings got unanimous board approval Monday.

The topic drew no public feedback during hearings held Monday and in late July.

Steve Corona, the board vice president, characterized the spending as wise.

Addressing such needs as masonry restoration, window replacements, and lighting and locker improvements through a short-term general obligation bond is expected to save taxpayers $3.5 million in interest over long-term borrowing, officials said.

The work shouldn't affect the district's promise since 2012 to keep the debt service tax rate at a maximum 30.28 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, officials said.

“This is very smart,” Corona said. “We need these renovations to move forward as quickly as possible.”

The work list also includes expanding music areas at Kekionga and Lakeside middle schools, accessibility improvements, roof replacements and temperature control upgrades.

Projects should be completed in 2020 and 2021 – a schedule board President Julie Hollingsworth highlighted in context of the $125 million referendum FWCS hopes to pass in May.

If approved, the Repair 2020 ballot measure will include major renovations at Wayne High School and Blackhawk and Miami middle schools. Construction on voter-supported projects likely wouldn't begin until 2021, Hollingsworth said.

The $8.15 million general obligation bond “gets us moving forward on a lot of smaller projects,” she added.

FWCS intends to hold board work sessions and community meetings about the proposed referendum before the Nov. 25 and Dec. 9 public hearings, but no dates have been announced.

In other business, the board approved Jennifer Knoblauch as principal at Levan Scott Academy. She joined FWCS in 2016 as assistant principal at Haley Elementary School and most recently was assistant principal at St. Joseph Central Elementary.

Knoblauch replaces Megan Fryman, who resigned.

asloboda@jg.net