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Hammond schools swaps land with city to allow for more athletics space
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Hammond

Hammond schools swaps land with city to allow for more athletics space

Clark High School

Clark High School alumni enter Clark High School April 24, perhaps for the very last time.

HAMMOND — The School City of Hammond has formalized swapping parcels of land with the city. 

During its regular meeting Tuesday, the Hammond school board adopted a resolution to swap athletic fields at George Rogers Clark Middle/High School — the school is set to close this year — for park land behind the Hammond Civic Center. 

The land exchange was first presented at the board's April 20 meeting and creates more space for athletics at the new Hammond Central High School, which is set to open this fall

"The overall reason for doing this is the initial plan for the school did not have a provision for track, baseball and softball on-site," Hammond Superintendent Scott Miller said during the April meeting.

"And by moving the football field into behind the Civic Center, it allows us to have a track around it and allows for a provision of baseball and softball on on site."

As a part of the trade, both Windrich Park and Windrich Avenue will be vacated and closed, Miller said. 

Miller noted the district is looking at honoring Staff Sgt. William Windrich, a World War II veteran who died in action on Dec. 2, 1950, while serving in the Korean War, according to Times archives, of whom the park is named after.

"The city has asked us to find a way to still honor the life of Mr. Windrich, since he was a war hero, Medal of Honor recipient, but it's not going to be part of the contract. ... They just are under good faith that we will find the appropriate way to honor Mr. Windrich," Miller said. 

The school board unanimously approved swapping the land Tuesday. 

Ride along with LaPorte Police Specialist Justin Dyer as he patrols the streets of LaPorte.

The board also recently approved repurposing Columbia Elementary School, which closed in June 2019

As approved, the $334,150 project would transform the shuttered school into a welcome center, Miller said, noting $244,650 of the project could be funded through Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act and Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding. 

Miller said the remaining $89,500 would come out of the operating referendum fund. 

Once renovated, the welcome center will house Head Start and PACT preschools; student services and registration; the technology department; the Hammond Education Foundation; central files; a district computer training lab; district professional development space; a nurse's office, if needed; and the Title clothing closet, documents show.

"It would be a centralized place for new people to the district to get the resources they need when they're new to the School City of Hammond," Miller said. 

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South Lake County Reporter

Mary Freda is the South Lake County reporter at The Times. She is a proud Ball State graduate, where she studied news journalism and Spanish. You can reach Mary at mary.freda@nwi.com or 219-853-2563.

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