Washington Community Schools held a work session Tuesday at Griffith Elementary to give the community a chance to learn more about the building projects the corporation hopes to tackle to accommodate a growing student population.
“It’s taken about two years to get to this point. We want to communicate to the public why we are doing this,” said Dr. Dan Roach before Hal Kovert with Hawkins and Brock Bowsher with Baker Tilly Municipal Advisors, LLC, formerly Umbaugh and Associates addressed the group of about 40 that included WSC school board members, principals, teachers and members of the community.
Daviess is one of four counties, Roach said, that is projected to have a growing population over the next several years. That potential means there will likely be more students enrolling and many of WCS facilities are already nearing capacity.
“We have signed an agreement to purchase property and it’s an exciting thing,” said Roach. “Rather than put a bandaid on something, we are planning for the future. What we have have to do first is look at the planning stages. We have the property but we also need the public support for a referendum in November.”
If the public agrees to the referendum, the nearly 100-acre track located not far from Griffith Elementary could become the sight for a new middle school and, over the course of time, several other additions too.
“If the public says yes, then this is where it’s all going to go but not in the center of the 100 acres,” said Roach. “Let’s allocate that space.”
Kovert then showed the group three scenarios that included a new school that would house grades six through eight or grades five through eight depending on the feedback from the community.
One scenario included just a new middle school while others depicted not only a new school but also site development for an auxiliary gym, fieldhouse and football stadium.
“This is just to give you a sense of scale in relation to the property that is being purchased,” said Kovert, as he explained some of the details of the fieldhouse that could include a track as well as additional hardwood courts and stressed that none of the concepts are set in stone.
One option also only offered a gym that would seat 700 — not one large enough to accommodate a growing student population.
“Gym A would not take care of the whole student body,” said board member Peg Stephens. “If you’re going to have 960 kids, I would think you would to be able to have them all in the gym at the same time.”
Bowsher helped those on hand get a better idea of how the tax rate would be configured for the different scenarios. Those figures he also stressed would vary and soon, a property tax calculator will be on the Washington Community Schools website to help community members determine their approximate tax rates for each of the financial scenarios. Those rates could range from a 35-cent rate for a new building to 68 cents for fifth through eighth grade building, auxiliary gym, fieldhouse and varsity football complex.
Community members, Roach said, are encouraged to ask questions and give feedback on the proposed projects.
“We will have a question and answer section up on our website,” said Roach, adding on June 13, a public hearing and preliminary determination hearing for the project will be held at 5 p.m. at the corporation office on South Street.
For more information on the proposed project visit www.washingtoncommunityschools.org/ or call 812-254-5536.