By JOHN KLINE
THE GOSHEN NEWS
GOSHEN — Goshen Community Schools sports fans got some welcome news Monday evening with the approval by GCS board members of a $40,000 to $50,000 bleacher repair project.
According to Jerry Hawkins, business coordinator for GCS, an investigation was initiated beginning last winter looking at the overall quality of the corporation’s indoor bleachers.
“Last winter we had some investigation to look over all of our bleachers to make sure they’re safe, that they’re in good shape, and we did find some things that need to be addressed,” Hawkins told the board Monday. “We are addressing six different buildings with bleacher repairs, replacement of some parts and things like that.”
Hawkins noted that the bleachers slated for the most significant and noticeable repair work are those in the main gym of the high school.
“The major ones that obviously you would see would be at the high school,” Hawkins said. “We have a number of broken boards and different things. That is a significant cost replacing all those boards with the right kind of wood so it matches them and is a nice look when we’re done.”
In addition to the bleacher repairs, Hawkins said the project will also look at widening at least some of the bleacher isles at the high school to allow for greater ease of access.
“That has been a concern for some time,” Hawkins said. “We are not financially in a position to do all of them. But we came up with a compromise that we would be doing two of the isle ways on the home side and one isle way on the visitor side so that we would at least try to accommodate those who might need that.”
Hawkins indicated that money has already been appropriated for the bleacher repair project, which he indicated will most likely fall in the $40,000 to $50,000 cost range.
“So it is significant,” Hawkins said of the cost, “and I wanted you to be aware of it.”
In other action, board members Monday learned that the final enrollment numbers for the current school year are in, and they’re up from last year by more than 100 students.
According to GCS Superintendent Diane Woodworth, final student numbers corporation-wide came to 6,520 students, an increase of 106 students over last year’s final count.
“That’s great news,” Woodworth said.
While good news for the corporation, Woodworth was quick to note that an increased student body also means crowded classrooms at a majority of the corporation’s nine schools.
“Things are really full,” Woodworth said, noting that students at the high school have even been forced to share lockers or even use their cars for lockers due to the overcrowding issues. “The high school and middle school are just bursting.”
Woodworth also pointed to increased crowding at Prairie View Elementary School this year due to the recent conversion of two of its extra classrooms for use in the corporation’s new Early Childhood preschool program.
“It’s a good problem to have, but things are really tight,” Woodworth said. “We have big classes across the board.”