Goshen News, Goshen, IN

September 6, 2013

First of three public meetings on referendum held

By SHERRY VAN ARSDALL
THE GOSHEN NEWS

— GOSHEN — Registered voters living in the Goshen Community School district are being asked to vote on a $17.15 million construction project involving both Goshen Middle School and Goshen High School.

The proposed building project includes $10 million for a new pool at GMS or GHS in a Goshen Community Schools Bond Referendum Special Election set for Nov. 5.

“If the referendum passes, the cost of the project will be above tax caps, therefore it will not impact the transportation and capital project fund budgets,” said the school corporation’s business manager Jerry Hawkins, during the first of three community information meetings at Thursday evening at the GHS auditorium.

“When residents hit the 1 percent tax cap, we lose the money because of the property tax cap,” Hawkins said.

About 25 people were on hand for Thursday night’s meeting.

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.

Hawkins added that GCS is paying $55,000 to $60,000 to hold the special referendum election.

“By doing it now, by paying for this vote now, it will save constructions costs later,” he said.

At the high school, there would be an addition for band/orchestra support spaces at $1,71 million and renovations would include $630,000 for a remodel of the music department; $270,000 to convert the pool to PE/Classroom area; $510,000 to repair the brick-front of GHS; and $500,000 to replace Phend Field, the school’s baseball field.

The addition at the middle school would be $540,000 for an PE/Fitness Room and renovations including $490,000 to remodel the pool and lockers for the band; $130,000 to remodel the orchestra to special education; and the addition and remodel of the kitchen and cafeteria for $1.1 million.

GCS is using a Design Build Process and we have conceptual plans of the building project and not money is spent until the referendum passes, Superintendent Diane Woodworth told the audience.

“These are just concepts of what we are talking about and we haven’t used money for the drawings,” Woodworth said. “The design build process is a lot more collaborative up front.”

If the referendum passes, GCS plans to hold a ground-breaking Aug. 4, 2014 and the project to be substantially complete in mid-December 2015.

“Goshen Community Schools believe that this is a fiscally responsible project that helps GCS attain its goal of an excellent quality education for all students,” Woodworth said.

The next public meeting is Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Goshen Middle School.