LOWELL | The Tri-Creek School Board is moving forward with an estimated $1.6 million project that will add three classrooms to Lake Prairie Elementary School.
The board Thursday held the state-required 1028 hearing on the project during which the scope, cost, financing and tax impact were presented.
The school building at 11601 W. 181st Ave. has been supplemented by two portable classrooms since 2008.
Assistant Superintendent Nathan Kleefisch said the district pays $2,025 per month for the portables. He showed pictures of the ramps that connect the portables to the school that were damaged during heavy winds.
Kleefisch said the addition would be at the southwest corner at the door now used to exit to the playground. A green space for project-based learning would be preserved and the fire code requirements would be met.
Board member Tim Cottingham asked if the addition would put the site at its maximum, but Kleefisch said it would be possible to add two more classrooms if necessary.
Pete Iussig, a Tri-Creek teacher, asked if the board had discussed the empty fifth-grade classrooms at Lowell Middle School. The school was designed for fifth-grade classrooms, but fifth-graders remained at the elementaries instead.
Iussig said the administration reported earlier that enrollment in Tri-Creek is down.
Board President Douglas Ward said two of the three added classrooms will replace the portables and save money.
Board Vice President Michelle Dumbsky said, "We're talking one-time building costs (with the project). Moving fifth-graders would be recurring costs."
Rod Wilson of City Securities in Fort Wayne said that since other bonds have been repaid, taxpayers will not see a tax bump as a result of issuing bonds to fund the Lake Prairie project. "(Taxes) might not go down as much as they would have otherwise, but they will not go up," he said.
Initially, the tax rate impact would be $0.006. By 2025, it would add an extra 3 cents on the tax rate, or $8.58 in a year on a home valued at $150,000, Wilson said.