VALPARAISO | Valparaiso School Board President Mark Maassel began Tuesday night’s meeting with a moment of silence to remember the lives lost in Newtown, Conn.
Superintendent Mike Berta said a phone message by the district noted this has been a trying time for the school corporation. He said staff is available to Valparaiso students as they continue to process the school tragedy.
He said measures to keep students secure continue to be in place and Valparaiso Community Schools will continue to grow stronger.
During the meeting, the board voted to reaffirm Berta as a temporary superintendent. He was hired in August and will continue in his role until June 2014.
Board member James Sarkisian said Berta has a history of solving problems and doing what is best for children.
“What came out with the tragedy we had last week was Mr. Berta immediately contacting the board, taking charge, doing what’s necessary," Sarkisian said. "You stepped on that right away, showed your leadership and came forward. ... I’m proud that you’re with Valparaiso Community Schools.”
Others thanked Berta for his work and said they were thrilled he would be with the corporation for another year. Berta said districts are only as good as the people within them and he is amazed at the dedication from board, staff, teachers and administrators.
In other business, director of the Porter County Career and Technical Center and local architect Brett Wagner presented a project to the board involving the Canadian National Railway train depot, an historical landmark. He said CN is looking at destroying the building, which was built in 1912. Wagner said the 3,400-square-foot structure would be of great use for his at-capacity program and could be used to teach about adaptive reuse.
Groth said the first step of fundraising would be to obtain a donation from Canadian National that it had designated for demolition.
Board members expressed their excitement and suggested a few areas where further information is needed as the project progresses.
District attorney David Hollenbeck said Valparaiso was seeking to place a stormwater sewer through property at Memorial Elementary School to help with drainage at the school property and a nearby neighborhood. The city would determine exact location of the line, Hollenbeck said.