WEST TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– The Vigo County School Board took steps to address aging school buildings Monday, approving for a “current footprint” study to move forward.
The study will look to see what projects the corporation should prioritize following the failure of a referendum last year to build new schools. VCSC Chief Operation Officer John Newport said the referendum caused a number of projects to be delayed.
“For about 10 years, I’ve heard the plan is going to be we’re going to build new high schools,” he said. “So over the last ten years, large projects have been kicked down the road, the can has been kicked down the road, because as you build a new roof on a building, why spend two million dollars on a roof you are going to tear down?”
“Over the years, there have been several cans kicked down the road and last May, we ended up at the end of the road and we got a big pile of cans. Some of those cans are a lot larger than what we can do all at once, we certainly can’t pick up all the cans at once, but we can start picking them up a little at a time,” he said.
A number of projects have already gotten underway. The corporation is updating camera systems in the schools, and will also renovate bathrooms and flooring throughout the buildings.
The biggest project will encompass HVAC repairs in the buildings. Newport said they have $18 million in federal funding that can go towards the project, which is in its early stages.
Overall, Newport said the study will help them get the most of the aging buildings.
“It’s what our students need. It’s really what our schools and our facilities need,” he said. “Our facilities are old, and they are aging, but they still got some good bones to them. So we can take those good bones, and work on the infrastructure within them. It’s still going to be costly, it’s going to be a very long time, but we will work through it as we can.”