The corporation has held community meetings, met with several local groups, and met with individuals to solicit their input on the future of the middle school. The turn out at the community meetings was low; however, we have been able to gather the feeling that most people are interested in building a new middle school. The location of the building seems to be the bigger conversation.
The following is some information that may provide you with some understanding of the challenges.
1. Building a new building at the same location on Diamond street and raze the old building. When planning for a new building a single story provides the best safety for our students. The land is a little over six acres which is too small to hold two buildings. Due to the Charter School laws, we cannot raze the old building for two years. We may apply for a waiver and if that is accepted and no charter schools claim the building, it could be razed within a few months. It is possible a charter school may want the building. If that is true, we will have two buildings on an extremely small site with zero room for parking, busses, green space, etc.
2. East Noble owns land across from South Side Elementary. That land is about 30 acres; however, there are about 7-10 acres that are a protected wet lands. There is a decent slope to the land which most likely means the building would be built into the ground and two levels. Not impossible, but is that the best for safety and handicap accessibility? Also, building at this site would mean the middle school would not have their own athletic facility. For some that is not important. However, a track and practice football/soccer field provides opportunities for physical education use in the fall and spring. Providing the middle school students their own athletic facilities benefits not only the middle school, but the high school also. Currently, during spring track season, there may be 100 or more high school and middle school students training using the high school track and field facilities.
3. Locate the building outside of the downtown Kendaville area. This adds convenience to those students who are traveling from the north and south of the county at the expense of losing a walk zone. If land can be found on the east side of 3 and the south side of 6, part of a walk zone could possibly remain. A new building away from downtown Kendallville provides flexibility in the design, size, and meeting the educational needs of students.
Please continue to submit your thoughts to Ann Linson at firstname.lastname@example.org.