LOWELL | Architects are still refining the floor plan for the Tri-Creek Learning Center, a a unique partnership with Ivy Tech Community College, planned for this summer.
The center is on track to open in August of next year in time for the 2014/15 school year.
"We continue to refine our Early Childhood plan for the day care and preschool components," Debra Howe, superintendent of Tri-Creek School Corp., said Friday.
Tri-Creek and Ivy Tech are still negotiating the terms of the lease which will make the Ivy Tech the primary tenant of the building to be erected on the site of the former Lowell Middle School on West Oakley Avenue.
Its rental payment will partially offset the expected $480,000 annual cost to operate the center.
Howe said there appears to be good public support of the project following a series of informational meetings.
Only one person spoke during a state-required hearing March 14.
Former School Board member John Bryant supported the project. He said he would not have favored it if the gymnasium had not been removed from the project. He said he believes the current administrative center could still be put to use and not razed as planned.
The board approved the projected cost of $11,995,000 earlier this month. It will be funded by a bond issue with an anticipated cost increasing from $510,000 in 2014 to $1,090,000 from 2020 through 2032.
That ranging impact on the debt service fund — 5 percent to 11 percent — will be completely offset by other reductions in debt service obligations, according to the resolution approved by the board.
Those numbers are based on an estimated assessed valuation of $1,066,400 each year.
The building will house Ivy Tech classrooms, class spaces for other postsecondary educational institutions and professional development space for Tri-Creek faculty. A day care space to be included at the center for staff and the community also will serve as a learning space for Lowell High students interested in careers in early childhood development.
Lowell High students will have the advantage of taking dual credit courses, once they pass Ivy Tech's admission test, at the center where they will complete college coursework during their school day.
Howe said she believes the project is a great opportunity for Tri-Creek students as well as the community and will be a positive impact on south Lake County's economic development.