South Bend Schools discuss ‘facilities master plan’
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The South Bend Community School Corporation said it does not plan on closing any more schools.
The school board discussed a facilities master plan at a meeting Wednesday night.
The improvements, totaling $54 million, would come out of the capital improvement fund, not the operations fund, which is used for things like hiring teachers and recruiting students.
The corporation said it continues to lose students and this plan is one way to manage enrollment, facilities and resources.
“When there is decline of enrollment, trying to align the facilities and align the programs and the resources is really important for the school district...The process is intended to be as transparent as it can be,” said Educational Planner Tracy Richter.
The corporation also put together a task force - made up of random people - and hired a firm to be as objective as possible.
“And those guiding principles talk about equitable platforms for all students. Access to programs, the right spaces and the right conditions of schools,” said Richter.
After a series of meetings, and a public survey, the community recommends the following improvements:
New construction of a Regional Career & Technical Center
Renovations for a Medical Magnet Program at Washington High School
“We’re going to be able to reduce the capacity of this building by creating bigger labs, by creating student-centered spaces,” said Richter.
And no school closures for the 2022-2023 school year.
Right now, the plan also includes possibly repurposing Clay High School, but not closing a high school.
“The idea was to keep a high school presence in the Clay Township...just at a building that was more right-sized that could have improvements made to it to do that,” said Richter.
During the meeting, the school board had mixed feelings about the plan.
The firm will keep collecting data over the next several months and will continue holding community meetings.
They will also spend time re-shaping the plan.
The corporation also plans to talk about this again at an upcoming meeting.
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