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Hancock County News

New Palestine moving ahead with high school construction, renovation

It is full steam ahead on a project that will bring about significant changes to New Palestine High School following this week's school board meeting.


This week, the Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County approved several resolutions that will move the project forward. The biggest is a resolution determining need, which acknowledges the district has a need to renovate the high school and surrounding site. In addition, the district approved a resolution approving formation of a building corporation and a resolution approving plans form of lease anx authorizing publication of notice of a lease hearing. A public hearing on the lease will be held Sept. 9th at the district office during the regular board meeting. 

According to Wes Anderson, director of school and community relations for the district, the next step is to issue bids for the Multi-purpose room to be built on the Southeastern corner of the building. 


"This building must be completed and ready to house temporary classrooms before renovation work on the high school can begin," Anderson told Giant FM. 


Anderson said the administration and construction team continue working on finalizing potential designs. 


Discussion of the renovations have dominated school board meetings for several months. 

Earlier this summer, Robert Yoder, assistant superintendent for the district, showed off and discussed preliminary drawings of areas that would be demolished, including the current English/Math wing on the northeast side of the current facility. In addition, those in attendance learned where new classrooms and structures will be added to the existing building.  


"There are lots of parts of the high school that can be used. We are not building a new high school," said Yoder, adding the district is hopeful the project can start in the fall and has an anticipated conclusion or the 2022-23 school year. 


Financial impact

Officials have said the cost of the project is $49 million and will be paid through bonds.

"We've worked hard on being financially responsible to the taxpayers while addressing a need," Yoder said.


One area that will help in the financing of the project is $34 million worth of 20-year bonds for construction projects are about to come off the tax rolls. Yoder said that money will be applied to the $49 million without increasing the tax rate.


As a result, the tax rate will be raised only on the remaining $15 million.


Yoder presented various scenarios on how this would impact taxpayers. 


For example, if the district’s assessed value grows by at least 2 percent, residents owning a home with a true tax value assessed at $100,000 would see a projected increase of $56. It raises to $109 on a $150,000 home and $160 on a $200,000 home