News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

February 22, 2014

School board to consider renovation to Hoosier Prairie

Project will cost $4.1M

TERRE HAUTE — On Monday, the Vigo County School Board will conduct a hearing on proposed improvements and renovation work at Hoosier Prairie Elementary, at a cost not to exceed $4.1 million.

The hearing, required by law, will begin at 6 p.m. Christi Fenton and Jennifer Russell will address the educational necessity for the project, while Franklin Fennell and Steve Arnold with talk about structural modifications and site issues.

 Doug Tischbein, of Energy Systems Group, will talk about energy system upgrades, and Donna Wilson will talk about funding for the project.

The public will have an opportunity to comment and ask questions.

The board will be asked to approve the project, although a contract will be awarded at a later date.

“We’re setting the maximum project parameters,” said Wilson, chief financial officer. It would be funded through the Capital Projects Fund and done as a guaranteed energy savings project, paid for over 15 years. The project will not increase the tax rate.

Energy Savings Group, or ESG, would design and oversee the project, which will provide the school with permanent interior walls and doors; currently, it has an “open concept” design. The project also will include energy savings measures that include lighting, window replacement and controls.

The project also will strengthen security at the building, adding a vestibule with double doors in the front, Wilson said.

Christi Fenton, director of elementary education, said the district built several schools using the “open concept” back in the 1970s. Hoosier Prairie is the last one to be renovated with the permanent interior walls and doors for classrooms.

“It gives you better instructional space because you’re not hearing the noises from the other classrooms,” Fenton said. The changes also provide greater security and enable individual classrooms to go on lockdown, if necessary.

During the regular meeting, the board will be asked to:

• Consider for second reading a policy revision to prohibit use of electronic cigarettes on school grounds and in school facilities and vehicles.

• Approve a collective bargaining agreement with Custodial and Maintenance Association. The employees will receive a 2.2 percent increase in the wage scale, with no step increases. Also, the district assumes the first 1 percent of the 2 percent increase in health insurance premiums.

• Approve a contract for roofing projects with ARP Roofing for more than $1 million. The work would be at Honey Creek Middle School and the Franklin Elementary warehouse as well as at North and South Vigo high schools.

In a spotlight, Stacy Mason will introduce Woodrow Wilson science teacher Melissa Jordan; the National Education Association Foundation has announced Jordan as a recipient of its Learning and Leadership grant.

In a special presentation, Beth Tevlin of the Wabash Valley Community Foundation will present a check for the VCSC backpack program.

The board meets at 686 Wabash Ave.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or

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