Public Meeting Seeks Input On Proposed New School; Needed Improvements For GJCSC

Jasper (NNDC) – Jasper school board will meet in a public work session to talk more about the results of a recent feasibility study and to further review the financial health of the district.

Results of the feasibility study were unveiled last month by GJCSC Superintendent Dr. Tracy Lorey to an estimated 40 people who attended the April 18th meeting of the school board.

Dr. Lorey’s presentation last month included information from both Gibraltar Design of Indianapolis and the Stenftenagel Group of Jasper which addressed facility issues currently facing the school district.

The school corporation board is continuing to seek input from the public on how to proceed with replacing the now 58-year old 10th Street School building as well as the 47-year old Fifth Street School building.  The school corporation is also having to address overcrowding at Ireland Elementary School which the school corporation has expanded in recent years.

Dr. Lorey says the school corporation is also seeking input on how to deal with other issues such as an outdated technological infrastructure and failing equipment throughout the district.

She says, “now is the time to address these issues.”  She says the June 6th meeting will hopefully provide more information for the school district for what she calls, “strategic planning purposes.”

Lorey says one possible solution to the corporation’s building needs is to build a new elementary school to replace both 10th and 5th Street schools on 16 acres of land the school corporation owns just north of Jasper Middle School.  The new school would have a student capacity of 750.

She says Ireland Elementary School will remain, but it too will need to be updated and expanded to meet projected increasing enrollment.

Lorey says, financially, the corporation has recovered some of the lost assessed value in the school district brought on by the 2008-09 recession, and the subsequent loss of tax dollars, to the point it can now address the building and other major needs without having to add to the tax burden of local residents.

She also says the corporation’s current debt service is now at a point that proceeding with the current needs addressed in the feasibility study is a viable option at this time.

Cost estimates range from $24 to 32 million dollars.

Lorey says, “the most important takeaway from all this is we can now (address the corporation’s needs) in a way I think is positive for everyone, especially our students and staff, and most importantly to our taxpayers.”


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