Consultant sees elementary school in northwest Corydon
The possibility of building a new elementary school in northwest Corydon, to allow Corydon Elementary to become a kindergarten through sixth grade school was one of several suggestions proposed during a design firm’s report on the overall condition of the Corydon school campus Tuesday evening.
Gibraltar Design of Indianapolis, an architectural, engineering and interior design firm, gave its report to the South Harrison Community School Corp. board of education during a special meeting. It’s the result of a year-long, in-depth study of the Corydon school campus.
The study was conducted with an eye on future growth in Harrison County, and took into consideration future campus expansion and better use of existing buildings.
“We evaluated each of the buildings for structural soundness and use of interior space, and checked the efficiency of the heating, electrical, lighting and cooling systems in addition to mapping traffic flow in each building and on the roads leading to the campus,” said Dr. Jack Peterson, an education consultant with Gibraltar. “Our study will help the school board make decisions about future building projects, possible remodeling projects and alternative building use in the future.”
Peterson said projections have been made about future population growth in the county and increases in student enrollment, which take into account the number of families moving into the county and projected child births in years to come.
“Our study found problems in several of the school buildings, which include such things as school offices with no clear view of the building’s main entrance, too many access points in some buildings, which reduces building security, overcrowded classrooms, lack of storage space, lack of teacher meeting space, student lockers which are too small to accommodate textbooks, and classrooms with no means of communicating with the school office,” Peterson said.
“The building in the best shape is the junior high school building because it is the newest school building,” he said.
Peterson said the study took into account two objectives of the school board: first, its desire to move toward a school system that has kindergarten through sixth grades in the elementary schools, grades seven and eight at the junior highs, and grades nine to 12 at the high schools, eliminating the Intermediate school.
The board is also committed to having neighborhood elementary schools of reasonable sizes, about 500 students, throughout the district.
“Because of this commitment, we proposed a new elementary school in the northwest sector of Corydon, south of I-64 and west of S.R. 135, because we felt that area is where the future population growth will be,” Peterson said.
“By building a new elementary school, we can make Corydon Elementary a K through six grade school, because we would be sending half the elementary students to the new elementary school, and that will allow us to use the intermediate school for another purpose, such as a science and math academy or a fine arts building.”
Peterson pointed out that Gibraltar’s suggestions are just that, and the school board will have to make any decisions on building or renovation when the need arises. Gibraltar will be willing to brainstorm and work on any other projects in the future, he added.
Remodeling some buildings might be the way for the school board to go, but, Peterson cautioned, “at some point the cost of remodeling becomes so great that building a new school makes more sense when you consider the cost of replacing electrical, plumbing, and heating and ventilation systems.
“Usually, when the cost of remodeling reaches 60 to 70 percent of the cost of building new, it is best to build. But that is a call for the school board to make,” Peterson said.
Other suggestions in the report: Turning the special education co-op building into a district-wide computer repair center, and moving special education offices into the present administration building. “We could remodel the intermediate school and put the administration offices in an area of that building,” Peterson said.
Some of these projects could be taken on as the bonds and debts on other school building projects are retired so as not to increase the cost of the school system’s debt service.
Supt. Dr. Neyland Clark indicated that no new building or remodeling projects are being entertained currently but the board now has a good guide if and when a project comes up for consideration in the future.