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School fix-ups moving forward: Coming renovation will add alternative academy to district

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A renovated Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson schools building that will house an alternative academy and an adult education center should be open by next school year.

The school district plans to spend about $300,000 renovating the Ragsdale building, a former administration building now used for storage, by adding Internet access and creating classroom space.

Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson currently offers alternative courses for four students who struggled in traditional classes through the Educational Resource Center in Edinburgh. But Superintendent Matt Prusiecki wants to create an alternative program that’s open to more students.

By renovating the Ragsdale building, the school district could offer the alternative program to as many as 15 students, Prusiecki said.

The work also will allow the school district to open an adult education center.

The center would be open to current Indian Creek High School students who wanted to take the courses offered. But the school district also wants to provide classes for former students, including those who dropped out, who want to make up courses they missed or begin work on a college degree, Prusiecki said. The school district has started having conversations with Ivy Tech Community College about course options.

“The focus will be some high school courses, but we’re looking definitely at adult education,” Prusiecki said.

Specific details about who could enroll in the alternative academy or adult education center are still being worked out. The renovated building would likely have room for a total of 50 to 75 students between the alternative academy and adult education center.

The renovation is one of about $1.7 million in projects Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson has planned for next semester. Plans for the projects were approved by the school board last week and now the school district is gathering construction bids.

Those bids should be in by next month, and if they’re approved, construction on the projects could begin by the spring, Prusiecki said.

The projects are being paid for with a $2 million general obligation bond the school board approved earlier this year. Because the school district is paying off debt, the tax rate shouldn’t be affected, Prusiecki said. The tax rate would likely have gone down if the school district wasn’t borrowing the money.

The architecture firm Lancer and Beebe conducted a facilities study for Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson earlier this year, and the school district’s highest priority is to replace the heating and air conditioning system at Indian Creek High School. That system has been in place since 1965, and replacing it will cost about $1 million, Prusiecki said.

Prusiecki wants the renovations to the Ragsdale building as well as the other upgrades complete by the time the 2013-2014 school year starts. Then the school district can consider whether it needs to borrow additional money for other projects.

The renovations and projects Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson is planning to complete next semester are the school district’s highest priorities. But Prusiecki also has concerns about older buildings such as the elementary school, which could eventually need a new heating and air conditioning system as well, he said.

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