An Inside Look At Carroll's $64M Expansion

By John W. Davis

September 17, 2010 Updated Sep 17, 2010 at 7:20 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Indiana's NewsCenter takes an inside look at the recently completed, yet highly debated, Carroll High School expansion project.

"I like having one high school because it's more people," said Carroll High School Sophomore Andrea White.

"In a sense, we've done the consolidation," said Carroll High School Principal Deb Neumeyer.

As neighboring school districts consider closing high schools, Northwest Allen County Schools just finished a $64 million dollar expansion at Carroll High School.

But let's take a moment to flashback to 2006... when some Northwest Allen taxpayers protested the expansion, instead advocating that the district build another high school.

"If we had two high schools at this point, we wouldn't be able to offer as much as we do in each of those, just because of operational costs and the budget reductions and the economy in general. It would have been very difficult to staff two buildings," said Principal Neumeyer.

Carroll currently houses 1,935 students.

Meanwhile, with the recent addition of nearly 200,000 square feet, Carroll's capacity is now 2,700 students. (The entire campus is 643,000 square feet.)

Indiana's NewsCenter spoke with dozens of Carroll parents Friday afternoon.

Most said the expansion was the best idea, mainly because of budget concerns. (The expansion project was already in the works before massive education cuts from the state of Indiana.)

"I think in the long run it ended up saving the school corporation money and it ended up keeping all the teachers together, making sure that we had adequate staff," said Carroll High School Parent Sally Guinn.

During Friday's tour, we toured English classrooms where every student has their own desktop computer.

"If you think about it, almost everything you use now has a screen. So if we come into the classroom and we try to teach without any screens, there not used to that anymore," explained Principal Neumeyer.

We also visited a state of the art science lab and Carroll's new 3,700 seat basketball and volleyball gym.

However, Indiana's NewsCenter did speak with a few parents who did not want to share their names but said two high schools was the best idea.

Those parents believe the district will outgrow Carroll's capacity in the near future and explained that some students are lost in the shuffle in a large high school atmosphere.

"You know they want a smaller school for kids and one thing to keep in mind is I know smaller schools in the area that have larger class sizes than we do," said Principal Neumeyer.

What's next for Carroll High School?

"Becoming wireless... Perhaps students bringing in their own laptops. All of that is what were looking forward to in the near future," said Principal Neumeyer.

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