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Major renovations underway at two Shelbyville elementary schools

Complete renovation projects at two of Shelbyville’s three elementary schools are in full swing.

Coulston Elementary, opened in 1956, and Loper Elementary, opened in 1960, are getting complete interior makeovers that will take approximately 18 months to finish.

Both renovation projects are in Phase I.

“I can tell you so far, we are off to a good start,” said Shelbyville Central Schools Superintendent Dr. Matt Vance. “It’s hectic.”

Each phase of the projects will be contained in one particular area of the schools.

“The crews are doing a great job of keeping the areas blocked off where they are doing stuff,” said Vance. “It’s going well so far but, obviously, it’s a major project for complete renovations. We are talking floors, we are talking walls, and we are talking HVAC. … Both buildings are being completely renovated.”

That means classrooms of students are being displaced to other areas of each particular building. No classrooms will be relocated outside of their main buildings, according to Vance.

Phase I at Loper includes the kindergarten wing. It has a scheduled completion date of Feb. 21, 2023. Phase II is slated to begin Feb. 22 and end on June 9. Phase III runs from June 12 to Sept. 28. Phase IV follows from Sept. 29 to Jan. 16, 2024. Phase V goes from June 17, 2024, to May 3. And Phase VI, which includes the main office and cafeteria, starts May 27 and ends Aug. 5.



All six phases at Coulston Elementary (photo) follow the same startup and completion dates at Loper. The final phase will include the main office, cafeteria and gymnasium.

With more than 1,000 new homes already green lighted for construction by the Shelbyville Common Council, an increase in student population is expected over the next decade. Construction is already underway on a pair of large housing additions in the Loper district and two more subdivisions are expanding.

“At Loper, we are going to have to give that building a hard look even after it is renovated because of space issues,” said Vance. “It has grown and we have new housing coming into the district. If it continues to grow, it will become an issue.

“We will need to look down the road at redistricting or another add-on there (at Loper).”

The school does have property available to build another school building but how that gets financed is a concern. The school system is currently in a $30 million project with the renovations of the two elementary schools and work going on at Shelbyville Middle School.

Another $2 million project to replace the track surface and install an artificial turf field at J.M. McKeand Stadium at Shelbyville High School commences in the spring of 2023.

“I don’t know if I want to know that number,” laughed Vance when asked how much a new school would cost.

Vance is not against adding new housing subdivisions. In fact, he wants to see growth in the school system.

“I hope the housing industry calms down and we get those homes filled,” he said. “I would like to see a little growth for us as a school corporation. We’ve had a little bit of a decline in enrollment.”

SCS is more concerned about available space at the elementary schools compared to the middle school, opened in 1991, and high school.

“The middle school is OK there,” he said. “The high school has had more children than what we have in there now so there is no concern yet.”

Coulston had additions to the original building in 1971, 1983 and 2000.

Additions at Loper were completed in 1965, 1983 and 2000.

Hendricks Elementary opened at its current location in 2000.

“We will have to give (Hendricks) a look in the near future with some upgrades,” said Vance.



The project at Shelbyville Middle School (photo) involves turning the shuddered pool into a black box theatre and a multi-purpose room.

The first phase includes filling in the pool that has not been used since 2016. Repair work on the malfunctioning pool was not considered financially feasible. The middle school swim program now uses the high school pool for practices and meets.

The black box theater is a performance space with black walls and a level floor to provide flexibility for a stage and audience seating.

The project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2023.

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