Southwest Allen County Schools is going to build a new building for Homestead High School. The district says the project will not force a tax increase.

At an informational meeting at Homestead High School Wednesday night, district leaders spoke to the community about the project plan saying once the new building is built school functions will go “about 80/20,” according to Superintendent Phil Downs, with 80% of programming going into the new building and 20% staying in the old. For example, the current auditorium would be turned into a smaller black-box style theater with a bigger auditorium going into the new building.

Downs says this will all happen without a tax increase.

“Right now, our debt service fund is rolling off from the debt we incurred about 20 years ago that we’ve been carrying,” Downs said. “We can fill the new high school project into that spot without raising the tax rate and still preserve flexibility going forward.”

Downs said the powerpoint presentation he showed at the informational meeting will be posted  to the district’s website later this week.

People in the district have concerns they hope get addressed by this new project.

“It just takes a long time to walk around the school,” said Paige Snyder, a Homestead High School freshman. “We don’t have time to go to our lockers, and our backpacks are really heavy because we carry all our stuff in it. So, those are my only concerns.”

Snyder’s mother, Mandy Snyder, also has things she’d like to see improved.

“They’ve brought up that they will be building a new auditorium, that it will be more easily accessible. That will be nice so we don’t have to walk through part of the school to get to it, more seating for the gymnasium as well I’ve run into sporting events where it’s been sold out.” Snyder said.

Construction on this project is expected to begin either in late 2020 or early 2021.