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Lanesville seeks $1.25 million for gym

Lanesville Supt. Phil Partenheimer said Monday that he was at the mercy of the Harrison County Commissioners while requesting $1.25 million in emergency funding to replace the Lanesville Elementary School gymnasium. The commissioners approved the request and forwarded it to the county council.
Without the commissioners’ assistance, Dr. Partenheimer said, replacing the gym would be a 230-day process, leaving LES without a gym during the upcoming academic year and forcing the school corporation to increase the tax rate by 7.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation for the next 20 years.
The gym, constructed in 1951 for $95,000, underwent repairs for a cracked roof-support beam in May. At that time, the school board asked Partenheimer to have a structural engineer inspect the building every six months.
Engineer Bob Isgregg of Jeffersonville recently finished the first inspection, found similar failures, and advised Partenheimer to close the building and replace the roof.
‘I don’t think anyone would blame you for closing the gym,’ said Commissioner James Goldman, after reviewing photos submitted by Partenheimer.
‘It’s obvious a catastrophic failure could occur,’ he said.
Designed to make ‘the best of a bad situation,’ Partenheimer brought a proposal for a new gym and five new classrooms before the board. The proposal would improve handicapped accessibility, provide parking lot access to the gymnasium, and, by eliminating the recessed gym floor, allow the court to be used as two practice courts.
The concept was approved, contingent upon financial support from the council and commissioners, at a special session of the Lanesville Community School Corp. Board of Trustees on Jan. 28. The school corporation plans to contribute $240,000 in on-hand funds to the project.
At $1.56 million, the cost is nearly equivalent to removing and replacing the damaged structure of the current gymnasium, and, by building additional classrooms, ‘We are solving growth problems for quite a while,’ said board president Donald J. Hussung.
Kovert Hawkins Architects of Jeffersonville was selected for the project. Kovert Hawkins saved the school corporation more than $40,000 on the administrative building project, Partenheimer said.
If funding is secured, construction bids will be taken and Kovert Hawkins will be the construction administrator. A hearing will be held on Feb. 17 to make taxpayers aware of the project in accordance with state law.
The council is expected to act on the funding request at Monday’s meeting.