WEST TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Vigo County School Corporation approved a plan that focuses on updating HVAC systems at all three of its high schools during the school board meeting on Monday.

The plan comes following last year’s failed referendum that proposed raising taxes to cover the costs of upgrading facilities at Terre Haute North, Terre Haute South and West Vigo High Schools. The corporation has $23 million in federal funding it can use to cover some projects– like the HVAC and plumbing renovations– that need to be spent by the end of 2024, according to interim superintendent Tom Balitewicz.

Balitewicz detailed what the plan approved Monday will look like. 

“They are going to do a very, very thorough review of the HVAC systems at North, South, and West Vigo High and Middle, and they’ll make a recommendation to us on a plan to address the HVAC systems and plumbing at all four of those facilities, and that plan will be then be put into action to fix those systems,” he said.

VCSC considered three companies to do the work, and they picked Schmidt Associates for a price tag of $50,000. Balitewicz said they will start their review of the systems soon, and he expects construction to start sometime in late 2023. 

He said this is the start of hopefully a number of projects to upgrade facilities around the school. The corporation is in the process of hiring someone to do a comprehensive study of the high school buildings– something that will be crucial as they look to the future.

“Whoever’s hired for that study, which will be a comprehensive study of the high schools, and once we receive that back, probably in the fall, then we’ll have a better idea of what needs to be done in the schools and how and how much it will cost,” he said.

Also addressed at the meeting was the superintendent search. Board president Amy Lore said they had 12 applicants for the job, including from some out of state, and had narrowed their list down to six candidates they were looking to interview on April 3rd and 4th. 

She said a community input survey has helped them develop some questions for the interviews.

“We had over 1,100 responses, which to me and my social sciences background, that’s great,” she said. “We appreciate every single person that took the time to do that. A lot of great information we will use to guide our interview questions and just how we are looking at these candidates.”

She said they also hosted a series of public forums– five in total. The topics ranged from public safety to after school programs. She said these were also helpful in understanding some of the expectations from community members.

“The feedback I received from community leaders who were at them, they said that the communication was good,” Lore said. “The conversation was candid and all of that information was collected, that’s more reading material for my evenings.”