Valparaiso Schools hears of facility needs

2013-09-17T21:30:00Z 2013-09-18T11:48:04Z Valparaiso Schools hears of facility needsSusan Emery Times Correspondent
September 17, 2013 9:30 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | Valparaiso Community Schools Board members received their first look at a study an Indianapolis firm is conducting of the district's facilities.

The board hired Gibraltar Design Inc. more than a year ago to study the eight elementary schools, two middle schools, high school and the Porter County Career and Technical Education School.

James Thompson, president of the Indianapolis firm, presented a preliminary progress report to the board, outlining the work done to-date.

Thompson said his firm assessed building conditions such as heating, roofing and windows, and compared the number and square footage of classrooms to state Department of Education guidelines.

The study also has identified opportunities for cost savings, as well as priorities that could improve energy efficiency and the comfort of students.

Thompson said he would provide further updates at board meetings in October and November, and the report is expected to be nearly complete by December.

“We're well underway and moving along quite nicely,” he said.

Superintendent Michael Berta said the preliminary report presented Tuesday will be posted on the district's website,

Berta said the process involves identifying teaching and learning activities projected to prepare the K-12 learner for the 21st century.

The district also has hired McKibben Demographics to do a six-to-10-year forecast of student enrollment by geographic area. That report is expected to be presented to the board at 6 p.m. Oct. 15 at Flint Lake elementary school, Berta said.

In addition, a district accreditation team is working to align the district's 2011-16 strategic plan with requirements to optimize teaching and learning, Berta said.

In other business, the board set a public hearing for 6 p.m. Oct. 1 at the administration building on Campbell Street to discuss the issuance of short-term bonds for deferred maintenance projects.

The projects are slated at all eight elementary schools, the two middle schools, high school, career center, administration building and service center.

They include roof repair, asphalt replacement, heating, air conditioning and electrical work, and security measures.

Costs are estimated between $9.5 and $12 million, with no one building to receive more than $2 million.

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