GOSHEN — Plans are moving along for the $17.15 million construction and renovationproject currently in the works by Goshen Community Schools. A major portion of that project, which was approved by voters in a special referendum last November, involves replacing the corporation’s two existing swimming pools with a new competition pool. The project will also re-purpose those pool spaces at the high school and middle school into classrooms, more cafeteria space and more physical education and music program space. Diane Woodworth, superintendent of Goshen Community Schools, provided a rundown of the progress of the project during a special joint meeting of the Goshen School Board and Goshen City Council Tuesday evening. During the meeting, Woodworth described how the corporation’s recently-convened Technical Review Committee, which oversees the scoring of the Request for Qualification responses necessary for the project’s design-build process, met all day Tuesday and most of Wednesday interviewing potential build teams for the project. “We had seven responses from design-build teams to our RFQ, so that was a good response,” Woodworth said. “We’re interviewing all seven teams, which is great to be able to hear all of their ideas and why they think they are qualified teams. The goal then is to narrow that down to three teams that move forward to the Request for Proposal stage, which is where the actual designing of the project happens. So I think it will be hard, because they’re all really qualified teams. But it’s also exciting that we had such a great response.” According to Woodworth, the overall goal is to award the project contract sometime in May, with groundbreaking scheduled for sometime in August. Woodworth said her hope is that the project will be substantially completed in December of 2015 so that the school corporation will be able to use the spaces in January of 2016. Pool location Not surprisingly, one of the biggest questions that arose from Woodworth’s presentation on the project’s progress Tuesday was “Where will the new pool be located?” Woodworth acknowledged that while an exact site for the new pool has not yet been determined, she did note that the corporation has convened a special community task force whose goal will be to look at all the site options available. “Our first meeting of that group is (Wednesday) night,” Woodworth said. “That will be led by our consultants who are leading us through this process.” Woodworth said the task force will likely meet two or three times to help determine between the two campuses — Goshen Middle School and Goshen High School. “So we’ll review those and assess the pros and cons,” Woodworth said. Still, Woodworth noted that the final decision will come down to what makes the most sense economically for the school corporation. “It will probably be kind of a hybrid process, where this group may kind of prioritize, here are the major pros at having it at Goshen High School, here are the major pros of having it at Goshen Middle School,” Woodworth said. “But then it will still depend on the cost associated with either site. So we’ll kind of work through it and see where we end up.” The task force would actually make a recommendation to the board on which site it feels should be selected, and the board would have the final say. “But just note, we are taking that very seriously, and know that there are strong feelings on both sides of that,” Woodworth said of the selection process. “So we’ll do the best we can to make it the best thing possible for our community.” Following Woodworth’s presentation, Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman thanked Woodworth and the members of the board for their work in getting the project successfully approved by the Goshen community. “I just wanted to congratulate you on getting your referendum through,” Kauffman said, “and educating the community well enough that they would support the project.” Woodworth was quick to reciprocate on behalf of the board and school corporation. “It was I think a good outcome, and thank you to all of you for all that you did as well,” Woodworth said to the mayor and council. “The community was just very supportive, so we have a lot to be thankful for.”
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