The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

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February 22, 2008

6:35 a.m.: Fate of Pendleton school unsure

South Madison school board members want financial information before deciding how to renovate the current middle school.

Board members are considering turning the building into an intermediate school, elementary school, sixth-grade center or fine-arts center. They discussed these options at a board meeting Thursday.

Seventh- and eighth-graders will move out of the school and into a new building, at Indiana 38 and County Road 300, in 2009.

This plan is to alleviate crowding in two of the district’s elementary schools: Maple Ridge Elementary and Pendleton Elementary, which are at capacity.

Board members do not intend to spend more than $8 million to renovate the middle school, regardless of the option they pick for the building. The school district will pay for renovations by selling a bond, going into debt, and using property tax dollars to pay off that debt.

Stair Associates, an Indianapolis-based architecture firm, is preparing cost estimates for each option. The firm plans to present its findings to school officials at the March 6 board meeting, Superintendent Thomas Warmke said.

Most members of the public who have commented on the issue prefer turning the middle school into an intermediate school. Although some people say they would rather see the building become a fourth elementary school.

School officials will only need to redistrict between Pendleton and Maple Ridge if they turn the current middle school building into an elementary school or intermediate school, according to Assistant Superintendent Bill Bolander.

All other options for the building would require a complete redistricting for all schools.

After school board members make their decision, they will need to determine exactly what renovations the building needs.

For example, the middle school has a second gym that could be converted into classroom space, Warmke said. The board will seek public input before deciding what renovations to make and how much to spend on construction, Warmke said.

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