News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 10, 2014

School Board approves lease for Vigo pool site

Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — By a 7-0 vote, the Vigo County School Board approved a long-term lease agreement that will now enable the district to build an aquatics center at Voorhees Park.

The Terre Haute Parks Board approved the lease agreement at its Jan. 24 meeting.

Approval of a lease agreement with the city, which finalizes Voorhees Park as the site for the facility, was a major step forward.

Now, the district will focus on planning for the facility, Superintendent Dan Tanoos said after the meeting. A community committee will work with the architect/engineer and construction manager “to look at plans, price things out and see what we can afford for $9.8 million,” Tanoos said.

Once the project is bid and contract awarded, groundbreaking is slated for June, with the aquatics center set to open in August 2015.

The aquatics center will replace aging pools at Terre Haute North Vigo High School, Terre Haute South Vigo High School and West Vigo High School.

The lease agreement calls for an initial 25-year lease for $1, with an option to renew for two subsequent 25-year terms, or a total of 75 years. The school district will lease about eight acres of the 11-acre park.

In other matters:

• Tanoos provided an update on school cancellations due to weather and the status of makeup days.

So far, the district has missed eight days due to weather. Three are built into the calendar and two don’t have to be made up because of waivers from the state.

That leaves three that must be made up, and Tanoos said he was told by the Department of Education Monday that “those will not be forgiven.” The state will not provide a waiver for those days.

Now, the district must decide how to make up those three days, whether by adding three days at the end of the school year, adding time on during regular school days or a combination of the two.

“We’re working on a plan. We don’t want to make it too early because we may have more snow days,” Tanoos said. Once a plan is finalized, the community will be informed, he said.

While the state has given school districts various options, Tanoos said the Vigo County School Corp. does not intend to use Saturdays, Presidents Day or spring break. Also, he doesn’t view Internet as an option because many kids don’t have access to it at home.

• The board approved a Feb. 24 public hearing related to a proposed renovation of Hoosier Prairie Elementary.

The project will provide the school with interior walls and doors; currently, it has an  “open concept” design. The project also will include energy savings and security measures.

• The board approved Energy Systems Group to oversee energy-related renovations at Hoosier Prairie Elementary.

• The board pproved a collective bargaining agreement with the Secretarial Association; it calls for a 2.2-percent increase in the wage scale. The board did not act on a Custodial and Maintenance Association agreement because the association has not yet approved it.

• During a special presentation, deputy Larry Hopper and Sheriff Greg Ewing of the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department presented plaques to the school district and Honey Creek Middle School for helping raise money for a new K-9 officer. The middle school has had a K-9 fundraising program for several years.

A few months ago, Ewing said, the department had to retire its one, remaining K-9. But now it has three K-9s in training. The school district and Honey Creek Middle School raised $4,500, or about half the funding for one of the K-9s and its training, he said. The other half came from community donations.

Hopper thanked Tanoos and the middle school for their support. Tanoos said later that the schools benefit from the K-9s, including through drug searches in schools.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.