Proposed FWCS referendum includes major facility renovations

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)- Fort Wayne Community Schools is planning big renovations for its school facilities in a new referendum proposed to the FWCS school board Tuesday.

According to planning documents provided by FWCS, the plan is estimated to cost $133 million and focuses heavily on renovations to three schools: Wayne High School, Blackhawk Middle School, and Miami Middle School. This is the third phase of ongoing repair referendums in 2012 and 2016.

The Repair 2020 portion of the referendum aims to improve students’ learning environment by:

  • Replacing post-useful infrastructure
  • Improving environmental conditions like air quality, temperature and lighting
  • Increasing security for students and staff
  • Increasing overall building efficiency and decrease energy use

Wayne High School and Blackhawk and Miami Middle Schools’ major renovations include HVAC, lighting, and security improvements as well as window replacements and building finishes.

According to FWCS School Board President Julie Hollingsworth, Wayne High School is the last of the district’s high schools to get a major renovation.

“It will include new lighting, new flooring, HVAC units in the classrooms, renovating gyms and the auditorium, all things we’re doing at Northrop High School,” said Hollingsworth.

Additions and expansions are also planned for Levan Scott Academy and Franke Park Elementary. Both elementary schools currently use modular classrooms that require students and staff to leave the main building to access bathrooms making it a security concern.

“They have to walk across the parking lot and then to the building to use restrooms,” said Hollingsworth, “and they are both schools whose population really warrants the classrooms.”

Various other schools would get office security modifications, ADA accessibility improvements. and roof replacements. The total renovation cost for all of these projects totaled $125 million, according to FWCS documents.

An additional $8 million is budgeted for General Obligation (GO) Bond projects which include music area renovations, lighting and locker improvements, and temperature control upgrades.

FWCS Chief Financial Officer Kathy Friend says the referendum will stay within the max tax rate guidelines at $0.3028 as set in 2012.

Resolutions and public hearings for the GO Bond projects will be held July 22 and August 12.

Hearings for the Repair 2020 portion will be held November 25 and December 9. If the referendum is further approved by the school board, it would be up for vote on the May 5, 2020 ballot.

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