bull dog wrote:I hope that the School Board Considers locating the middle school somewhere other then downtown. A school will do nothing to spur economic growth in the downtown.
On Monday night, representatives from Michigan City-based Fanning and Howey, the school architects, presented the board with preliminary plans for the $38 million project.
While H. Steve Sprunger, school superintendent, and Karen Raab, School Board president, reminded those in attendance that the plans were still in the early stages, the future of the U.S. 231 project wasn?t looking too promising.
The plans showed the school sitting on the east side of the property next to the existing football field and track. When Raab inquired about shifting the building, Project Manager Michael Schipp said that moving the building would compromise the amenities the architects were trying to preserve, including utilities, parking and hickory trees that already exist.
The plans also showed a new soccer field on the west side of the property that would be sacrificed if the building were to move.
William Heidbreder, a local landscape designer, encouraged the board to preserve space on the site for civic green space. Heidbreder presented plans that kept the track and football field and included a memorial park and a botanic garden designed around the architects? site plans.
While the U.S. 231 plans rely on the school corporation giving up the northeast corner of the property, the corporation?s plans for the new school rely on approval by the city?s Plan Commission.
Anyone know who "Concerned Citizens for a Better Crown Point" is or if the school board is coming to this meeting?
Arclight wrote:You know the Planning Commission is going to ham-string the school corporation every chance they get for daring to think for themselves when is came to the decision to sell the land and the price they were willing to accept. I imagine it will be a bit of the old "give us what we want of we will never approve your building plans".
School Board President Karen Raab asked the architects if would be possible to shift the school building, either to the west or by making the building spread out across the property from north to south rather than east to west.
But Schipp (the architect) said the proposal shows the school in a way that's most sympathetic to the site's boundaries and utilities.
About 60 people turned out Wednesday to talk, and sometimes shout, about the impact of a decision by school officials to build a new middle school downtown.
While the meeting was organized to get people thinking about how a new school on the old high school site will affect the community and tax rates, the discussion also touched on topics ranging from the value of the site to the updating of the city's master plan.
Paul Keller, a member of the city's Plan Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals, organized the forum but stressed it wasn't sponsored by the city or any other organization. He opened with a 20-minute talk about the history of negotiations between the Crown Point Community School Corp. and the city over the old high school site.
One of Keller's main points was that if school officials already are planning to buy more land to build another middle school east of Crown Point in the next few years, that school should be built first. Then, in the next few years, the district could consider tearing down Robert Taft Middle School and building another school.
No tax dollars will be generated by building a middle school downtown, while the land could be used to develop moderate-income housing, creating a yearly tax flow of $250,000 to $750,000, Keller said. Of that money, the district could get $95,000 to $260,000 annually. By building a school east of Interstate 65, school officials also would spur new housing development in the area, creating additional income.
But some in the audience didn't buy that reasoning, questioning why developers didn't try to buy the land if it was so appropriate for housing. While the district has valued the land at $3.4 million, two appraisals done by firms hired by the city put the value at about $1.3 million.
Keller also said he didn't think there was enough promotion of the hearing the district had in January to vote on whether to build the new school and the remonstrance period that followed. Local businessman Alan Katz loudly disagreed.
Mary Klepsch, of Stewards of the Square, said she understands some people don't want the city to change. But, she said, the downtown is in trouble and needs some new housing nearby.
"I'm sorry, I don't care where you go, nobody is revitalizing a downtown by building a middle school," she said.
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