TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A formal recommendation on the future of high schools in the Vigo County School Corporation will be made on Jan. 13, 2022, potentially making it to a ballot in May.

Three options were presented by VCSC at its meeting Monday night about what to do with Terre Haute North, South and West Vigo High Schools. They included:

  • Option 1
    • New academic spaces at North, South and West Vigo High Schools
    • Renovated co-curricular spaces at North, South and West
    • $160 million referendum for new spaces
    • $100 million for renovation projects over time
    • An additional $0.0865 tax impact over rate
  • Option 2
    • New academic spaces at North, South and West Vigo High Schools
    • Renovated co-curricular spaces at North, South and West
    • $260 million referendum for new spaces and renovation projects at one time
    • Additional $0.2484 tax impact over current rate
  • Option 3
    • New construction on current sites at North, South and West Vigo High Schools
    • $333 million referendum for new schools
    • Additional $0.3604 tax impact over current rate

Data collected by VCSC indicates option 3 is the less likely option to pass. But, according to Superintendent Rob Haworth, a complete rebuild is not off the table.

“Your hope for your high school is it lifts instruction up,” he said. “I believe here, it takes away, deters from teachers looking to give instruction.”

Haworth added that those who attended community meetings in person supported the idea of construction. However, currently that proposal would not have enough support to pass.

Tax payers, like John Collett, say this is an overdue decision.

“I think we’ve put it off long enough, I think we have to get it on a ballot by May,” he said. “I would be disappointed if we don’t. We just need something with the schools to get them in better condition.”

VCSC studies also indicate the community supports three high schools, collaborative classrooms and facilities that support hands-on learning.

As a project progresses, Haworth said economic factors including supply chain issues and inflation will be closely monitored.

“What’s in front of us could impact a campaign,” he said. “We got to keep looking at what those economic indicators are that would support moving forward.”

Officials describe the upcoming recommendation as a “generational decision” to add more businesses and retain talent. This is a goal that is shared by Collett, who said a strong education system is important to Vigo County’s economy.

“The first thing perspective employers want to know is, how are the schools? If the conditions of the school are very bad it tends to have people look the other way and not look in Terre Haute,” he said. “We have great teachers here.”

A meeting will be held on Jan. 13, 2022 to make a recommendation going forward.