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TAKE A TOUR: FWCS Shows off repair work at Northrop High School

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – As Fort Wayne Community Schools considers the next phase of their multimillion-dollar repair program funded through a new referendum, ABC21 takes a look inside work completed through the 2016 referendum.

Construction crews are wrapping up work of the complete renovation of Northrop High School on Coldwater Road.

A big part of the project was adding air conditioning to the building, on top of new LED lights, floors, and paint.

The work was divided up in phases, and crews are nearing the last phase.

So far, about 2/3 of the upgrades to classrooms in Northrop have been completed.

Construction crews just opened up a refreshed auditorium and a new arts area.

Up next is upgrades to the gymnasium and media center next summer.

School administrators said the completed projects through the 2016 referendum have modernized and created more energy-efficient facilities.

Administrators said this work has saved the district millions of dollars in energy costs.

The FWCS Board of School Trustees is considering a new referendum on the May 5, 2020, ballot for a $130 million bond program to make improvements at 33 school buildings.

This plan would retain the maximum promised tax rate of .3028.

If approved, the new referendum would allow the district to improve security, replace windows, and fix roofs.

Four buildings — Levan Scott Academy, Blackhawk and Miami middle schools and Wayne High School – will receive major renovations, including updating heating, ventilation and air conditioning, installing energy-efficient lighting and more.

The plan also calls for classroom additions at Levan Scott and Franke Park Elementary School, where modular units are currently in place to handle student populations that have outgrown the capacity of the buildings.

“We have been diligent in our fiscal responsibility while maintaining our school buildings throughout the city,” FWCS Chief Financial Officer Kathy Friend said.

“We have a responsibility to ensure these buildings remain strong anchors in our neighborhoods and modern centers of learning for our students.”

When school administrators started the REPAIR program in 2012, there were 32 buildings without air conditioning.

“We start school in August, so it is really hot in our buildings that didn’t have air conditioning,” Heather Krebs, FWCS Coordinator of Program Controls, Facilities Department.

“All of our school buildings will finally have air conditioning.”

Administrators are now eying Blackhawk Middle School off of State Boulevard, which would receive a major renovation if the REPAIR 2020 referendum is approved.

The school is offering the community some opportunities to learn about the proposed projects and see the work for themselves.

The next meetings are set for:

  • Thursday, Nov. 14, 5 p.m. tours, 6 p.m. information meeting – St. Joseph Central Elementary, 6341 St. Joe Center Road
  • Monday, Nov. 18, 5 p.m. tours, 6 p.m. information meeting – Northrop High School, 7001 Coldwater Road

The Board will have two public hearings on the proposal.

The first will be at the Board meeting on Monday, Nov. 25, followed by a second hearing at the Board meeting on Monday, Dec. 9.

After the second hearing, the Board expects to vote whether to place the referendum on the May 5, 2020 ballot.

Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She serves as the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @KaylerJayne.

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