New Haven H.S. Renovation Project Will Need Public Vote For Approval

By Maureen Mespell
By John W. Davis

September 13, 2011 Updated Sep 13, 2011 at 11:11 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) -- 62 new classrooms and a new gym.

That's what architects suggested it will take to turn New Haven High School, into a large enough building to house 7th through 12th grades.

At this time, East Allen County Schools leaders and architects are not exactly sure how much this project will cost.

However, EACS Assistant Superintendent of Kirby Stahly, told the small crowd of 25 community members, that the project will cost more than $12 million dollars.

Any construction project that cost more than $12 million dollars have to be approved by a public referendum vote.

Stahly said that money is necessary because the entire building needs a new (HVAC) Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning System.

Stahly said the heating and cooling system would cost between eight to ten million dollars.

Architects also said they will need several millions of dollars to make room for at least 400 7th and 8th graders.

Architects are conceptually proposing adding on 84,000 square feet.

That would include 62 new classrooms and a second gym for middle school students.

However, the last time East Allen County Schools asked taxpayers for several million dollars in a public referendum vote, 70% of voters said "no."

"I think it's going to be difficult," said New Haven Resident Connie Heckler.

"Especially because of the way our economy is now and so many people out of work. I hope people will see how much education is needed for economic development," Heckler continued.

An informal time line for the New Haven 7-12 project was presented at Tuesday night's meeting.

-A public hearing is expected to be held in December 2011.

-A referendum vote is predicted for May 2012.

-If approved, construction could begin in February 2013.

However, if the referendum fails, East Allen County Schools would have to go back to the drawing board.

Meanwhile, Indiana's NewsCenter is keeping track of the other five EACS Redesign project.

The Woodlan K-12 project should cost about $10.8 million dollars.

That means a public referendum vote will not take place.

However, a petition remonstrance process could take place.

RQAW Architects told Indiana's NewsCenter, the Heritage K-12 project will cost more than $10.8 million dollars.

So if that project comes in at more than $12 million dollars, a public referendum vote would take place.

No word on how much Harding College & Career Academy (7-12) or New Haven Intermediary (4-6) renovations will cost.

Indiana's NewsCenter will continue to follow this story.

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