In the next five to 10 years, taxpayers likely will be asked to approve a new elementary school with room for hundreds more children expected to come to Clark-Pleasant schools in the future.
Along with a new elementary school, school officials are considering other projects to add on to current elementary schools, making room for more classrooms, and replace the auditorium and enlarge the pool at Whiteland Community High School.
In total, the projects would cost more than $52 million, but what projects would be done — and when — are about a year away from being decided and mapped out.
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The list of projects is part of ongoing discussions of how to manage growth at Clark-Pleasant schools, superintendent Patrick Spray said.
During the past three years, as many as 100 new students have enrolled in Clark-Pleasant schools each fall. Going forward, officials are anticipating that number to grow to about 150 new students per year based on recent demographic studies, Spray said.
That growth is expected mainly east of Interstate 65, near the new Worthsville Road interchange. That land is mainly farmland now, but will someday be commercial and residential development.
Clark-Pleasant’s total enrollment was 6,372 students last school year, according to an enrollment study by the school. Since the 2010-11 school year, enrollment increased by more than 500 students, according to the study.
By the 2025-26 school year, enrollment is expected to increase by about 1,300 students, according to the study.
“In 2006 and 2007, it was almost out of control growth, with a few hundred (new students) per year. But growth is starting to pick up, again and it’s close to what it was a decade ago,” Spray said.
The school board is now developing a five- to 10-year plan that would make sure Clark-Pleasant schools and facilities have enough space for that growth. This week, an architect firm presented options for building renovations and construction projects that total more than $50 million. The firm has worked with the school district on prior projects, but was not hired or contracted by the school district to develop the ideas presented this week, Spray said.
One of the projects they are considering is building a new elementary school, which officials say they know will be needed in the future.
The new school, estimated to cost about $25 million, would make room for 750 students and would likely be built east of I-65, Spray said. Two locations that officials are considering are on Main Street location, near Five Points Road, or along Worthsville Road, near County Road 250E.
That new school could be needed as soon as 2020, based on the rate that enrollment increases in the next few years, officials said.
Other projects included on the list would add four to eight classrooms onto every elementary school, with costs ranging from $2 million to $3 million. But adding onto the schools could present other challenges that officials would need to consider, such as needing to increase the cafeteria size or hire more teachers, Spray said.
Building the new school wouldn’t necessarily eliminate the possible renovation projects at current elementary schools, Spray said. The school board would have to review the proposed renovation projects and be more selective about which ones they pick based on necessity and cost, Spray said.
“It’s more of an evaluation of to what extent can we add to buildings. The next facility, school wise, will likely be an elementary school. So, we’ll explore these options. We just know we are going to need another elementary school,” Spray said.
The list also includes work to the high school, including demolishing and rebuilding a larger auditorium and reconstructing the natatorium.
Tearing down and rebuilding the auditorium, which would make room for as many as 975 seats, could cost as much as $10 million. But that project is needed sooner than the new elementary school because the current auditorium is too small, Spray said. For example, the high school’s show choir has so many members, it’s outgrown the current auditorium stage, Spray said.
Another project would reconstruct the high school’s natatorium to add two additional pool lanes and new spectator seating, as well as renovate space for new locker rooms for a cost of as much as $4.5 million. That project is needed because the facility is outdated and more room is needed, though a timeline for the work has not been determined, officials said.
But before anything can be built, school officials must first decide how they would be paid for.
School officials haven’t yet started discussing funding options, but a referendum would likely be needed, Spray said.
How the district will pay for the renovations and construction won’t be decided until projects are selected and costs are determined, Spray said.
“There’s so many variables and parts. I think the board is going to be open to a variety of ideas,” Spray said. “None of this is short-term. These are things on the horizon. It’s just a lot of planning at this point.”
A look at the possible projects for Clark-Pleasant schools:
Potential new elementary school
Two potential sites east of Interstate 65: along Main Street, near Five Points Road, and along Worthsville Road, near County Road 250E. The school would accommodate about 750 students. Planning, engineering and construction could take about two years.
Estimated project cost: $25 million
Whiteland Community High School
Renovations to the pool. The project would include two new pool lanes, new spectator seating, pool offices, locker rooms, storage space and new equipment. The renovations would also include new roofing, and heating and cooling units.
Estimated project cost: $4.5 million
Reconstruction of the auditorium, which would require demolishing the current facility, then building a new auditorium that would seat as many as 975 people.
Estimated project cost: $10 million.
Break-O-Day Elementary School
An addition to the east end of the school where as many as eight new classrooms could be added.
Estimated project cost: $3.2 million
Clark Elementary School
A new, two-story addition on the north end of the building where as many as eight new classrooms could be added.
Estimated project cost: $3.2 million
Pleasant Crossing Elementary School
The school’s courtyard could be replaced with an addition where as many as four new classrooms could be added.
Estimated project cost: $2 million
Whiteland Elementary School
An addition on the southeast corner of the school where new restrooms and three classrooms could be added.
Estimated project cost: $2 million
Grassy Creek Elementary School
An addition on the east side of the building where as many as six classrooms could be added.
Estimated project cost: $2.9 million
SOURCE: CSO Architects
Clark-Pleasant school officials anticipate enrollment to increase. As many as 150 new students per year are expected to enroll in the school district over the next several years, and that number could continue to rise. Here is a look at recent enrollment growth at Clark-Pleasant schools:
projected 2020-2021: 6,930
projected 2025-2026: 7,680