Schools

New admin center draws push back

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Plans to construct a new administration center for Crawfordsville Community Schools is receiving some push back.

Kylie McFarland said she was speaking for herself and others when she addressed the school board Thursday during its regular meeting at Crawfordsville Middle School. She agrees there is a need for the project, but disagrees with the proposed location of the new building.

Last month the board announced its intent to construct an 8,000 to 9,000 square foot, two-story building on the south side of the athletic parking lot at Crawfordsville High School at an estimated cost of $4 million. The new building would replace the corporation’s inadequate and outdated 3,500 square foot office space at 1000 Fairview Ave.

“Placing a two-story building there (in the athletic parking lot) would be a hindrance to community members as well as visitors who utilize that lot every day,” McFarland said.

She said the parking lot is used heavily during major events, including club and college swim meets, dance competitions and recitals, robotics competitions, sporting events, graduation, musicals and plays and other community events. 

“Taking away parking will negatively impact the marketability to bring in some of those big money events,” she said.

McFarland also suggests the proposed building site might negatively affect students.

“As a young person pulling into the high school from State Road 47 I feel it is important that they can readily see, and therefore dream, about being an athlete on the field one day,” she said. “I’m sorry to say but a two-story building in the parking lot, blocking that view also gives way to mentally blocking the capability of those types of dreams.”

McFarland also believes the proposed location is invasive and that the high school compound should be first and foremost a high school facility. She is concerned the new building will not only reduce parking and complicate bus traffic flow, it will take away from the openness and picturesque quality of the campus.

“Placing the administrative building at the forefront of the property brings forth a negative, and extremely prideful representation of the corporation’s administration,” McFarland said. “I personally know this not to be true ... but that is the perception that you would be placing on yourselves. Putting yourselves literally before the students and community needs.”

McFarland is speaking up now in hopes it isn’t too late for the board to reconsider the placement of the new administrative center.

Superintendent Dr. Thomas Bowling said no decision has been finalized and that the site remains a conceptual drawing at this time.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Rex Ryker said the impact on parking for the proposed site is 13 spaces, and that adding parking elsewhere has been discussed as part of the overall construction and improvement project.

“Those 13 space could probably be made up elsewhere,” he said. “As for the design idea, it would be to enhance the setting, not take away from it.”

Last month, the board acknowledged that the proposed site has already been surveyed, has utility access and a parking lot — all factors that offer significant cost savings.

“I understand the convenience of the utility locations, but the quantitative savings will negatively, detrimentally be multiplied on the quality of factors that make Crawfordsville Community Schools stand out,” McFarland argued.

Board member Kathy Brown shared that numerous locations, including downtown spaces, were considered before the board opted to use the high school campus.

“We did look at numerous spots around town, but there was literally nothing available and from a budgetary standpoint we do have to look at land we already own because otherwise the project, which is already very expensive, would be even more expensive,” she said.

Administrators assured McFarland that other areas on the high school campus had been considered. The engineers the school officials are working with eliminated many of those spaces due to drainage or slope issues or because of the placement of the existing geo-thermal system.

Ryker added the new administration center will compliment the existing campus.

In other business, the board:

• Approved a request from CMS/CHS Choir Teacher Jennie Swick to travel with choir members to Music in the Parks at Kings Island on May 5-6. This is an annual trip and students are given opportunities leading up to the trip to raise funds to defray costs.

• Approved an opportunity for students to travel internationally over break 2024. The request was made by Chloe Carter, CHS science teacher. She is working with EF Tours to provide a week-long trip to Ireland, England and Wales. Student cost is estimated at $3,450 and would be paid in monthly installments.

• Accepted the resignations of Emma Bales, Willson aide; Angela Clements, assistant at Nicholson Elementary; and Rylea Dewlen, assistant at Hose Elementary.

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