Lawrenceburg High School
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – Efforts are underway to find funding to either renovate or replace parts of Lawrenceburg High School.
Lawrenceburg Community Schools Superintendent Karl Galey appeared before Lawrenceburg City Council on Novewmber 5 to open discussion of the city assisting the school corporation with funding for facility needs. Prior school administrators first began looking into replacing or renovating the four-story academic wing - first built in 1937 - in 2008.
“Everything from the HVAC, the electric, plumbing, technology, safety issues, ADA compliance. It’s outdated,” Galey said.
Galey said that engineering firm American Structurepoint has studied the school’s structures. Estimated costs for replacing the academic wing and gym are $42 million. The $15 million for the proposed gym includes the cost of demolishing the current gym, Galey said.
The need for upgraded facilities is not being driven by enrollment with 575 students currently enrolled in grade 9 through 12. However, enrollment could grow to about 700 in the next few years, Galey told council.
Driving a possible replacement of George “Bud” Bateman Gymnasium, the gym added to the high school in 1964, are structural issues which became apparent about a year and a half ago. Galey said the gym’s foundation is shifting.
An engineer with American Structurepoint told council that the gym may have only a few years of life remaining. Soil borings have shown that groundwater lies just below the ground surface on school property.
The gym’s integrity is being monitored regularly, Galey said.
Galey told council that the school district would like to fund the projects without having to raise taxes. Grants are being sought from Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg owner Penn National Gaming. There are plans to use the district’s Capital Improvement Fund, Rainy Day Fund, and part of the city’s annual grant to the school corporation, he said.
An Indiana state law requires school districts to put a referendum on the ballot when a publicly-funded project costs over $12 million. Since the law was passed in 2010, most proposed tax increases in Indiana have not passed, including a $24 million referendum for Batesville Community Schools that year. Grant money and whatever amount of funding the city approves, if any, could help Lawrenceburg Community Schools avoid a ballot issue.
In the event the gym project moves forward, there are no plans to relocate the high school football field, Galey said contrary to rumors in the community.
Further talks are being scheduled about the proposed school facility project. Galey told council that meetings will be set up to include the Lawrenceburg Community Schools Board of Trustees, city councils from Lawrenceburg and Greendale, the mayors of both cities, Penn National Gaming, the Lawrenceburg Conservancy District, and Dearborn County.