By SHERRY VAN ARSDALL
THE GOSHEN NEWS
At the second community hearing about a $17.15 million building project for Goshen schools to replace two pools with one and add educational space, some people were looking ahead.
What Kathryn Leatherman wanted to know was if the public will be able to swim in the new pool. Yes, they will, according to Superintendent Diane Woodworth.
Voters in the Goshen Community Schools district are being asked to vote Nov. 5 to approve the building project, which involves Goshen Middle School and Goshen High School.
“I want a place to go where there is a swimming pool,” Leatherman said. “I want to see if they will allow the public to use the pool. I couldn’t believe the city couldn’t push the community center through. We need to think a little more of how to provide something for the children to go to.”
A community center was proposed by a local committee and the school board as a way of meeting the needs for a new school pool and creating a city recreation center. The committee withdrew its proposal earlier this year, citing the lack of support. So the school board went with an alternative plan to seek voter approval for the pool and school renovations.
Woodworth told the audience the pool would be open to the community, but it would be a competition pool and would be very busy at times.
“There would be times it would be less busy, for example Sunday afternoons. I think there would be interest and it would serve more people,” Woodworth said. “The reason I said it would be a competition pool is that it’s going to be colder. For people who are swimmers that wouldn’t be a problem, but it might be for people who would be more interested in recreation.”
Courtney Collins asked about the design-build process. He wanted to know what the process will be if the referendum is passed.
“GCS is using a design-build process and we have conceptual plans of the building project and no money is spent until the referendum passes,” Woodworth said. “The project cannot be bonded for more than the $17.15 million, that is the maximum. So (after the referendum is passed) the architect and construction people will meet with our staff to find out all the needs for these spaces. What is that we need to do to get the best bang for the buck here.”
School officials told the audience what areas of each school would be included in the project.
At the Goshen High School, there would be an addition for band/orchestra support spaces at $1,710 million and renovations would include $630,000 for remodeling of the music department; $270,000 to convert the pool to physical education/classroom areas; $510,000 to repair the brick-front of GHS; and $500,00 to replace Phend Field, which may be used in a state U.S. 33 rerouting project.
The addition at Goshen Middle School would cost $540,000 for a physical education/fitness room. Other renovations would include $490,000 to remodel the pool area and lockers for the band; $130,000 to remodel the orchestra area for use by special education students; and an addition to and remodeling of the kitchen and cafeteria for $1.1 million.
The pool is expected to cost about $10 million to build.
The school corporation’s business manager, Jerry Hawkins, added the tax impact (above property tax caps) on a median value home of $101,500 for a family living in the GCS district would be $37.03 a year or $3.09 per month.
Andrea Johnson raised her hand to speak during the question and answer period.
“I’ve heard a lot about the swim team and the meets, but I’d be a lot more comfortable if I thought this money would be spent on something that would benefit all the children in the district rather than those on the swim team,” Johnson said. “It seems like it’s going to end up benefiting a few kids and that’s a lot of money to be spent for a long time.”
If the referendum passes, the school board plans to hold a ground-breaking Aug. 4, 2014 and for the project to be substantially complete in mid-December 2015.