Community meetings set for schools


In an effort to hear the views of the community concerning the future needs of the school system, the Switzerland County School Corporation will begin a series of open forums around the county today (Thursday).

The meetings are designed to hear the community’s feelings about three issues: the possible renovation to Jefferson-Craig Elementary School or the construction of a new elementary school; the redistricting of the county in order to better balance the enrollments at the two elementary schools; and the possibility of relocated the administrative offices from the old high school to the current Jefferson-Craig Elementary should the decision be made to build a new school.

This series of meetings comes more than two years after a feasibility study committee made up of local residents toured all four buildings and listened to the concerns of the principals and staff.

One of the issues then was a recommendation to send the sixth graders back to the elementary schools; which would lighten the load on the overcrowded middle school but without some modifications to the elementary schools would be impossible.

With 200 more students in Switzerland County Elementary than Jefferson-Craig, and with Switzerland County Elementary’s enrollment continuing to climb; redistricting would provide a more balanced enrollment and would also provide the space needed for SCES to take back the sixth graders.

Another issue is Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels’ push to provide all day, everyday kindergarten. That would further strain the space issues at both elementary schools.

At Jefferson-Craig, the issue is whether or not to put the 1954-building through a third renovation, which would have to be extensive to not only take back the sixth graders and the new students from redistricting; but would also have to go through an overhaul of its infrastructure, from plumbing to electrical to HVAC, because nearly all of it is original to the construction of the building.

Building on would also mean having to relocate the playground further to the north, which would probably mean moving the high school softball field.

The other option is to build a new elementary school on the land to the west of the high school that the school system already owns. This would allow for the growth needed, and would also eliminate some dangers with buses and other automobiles moving in and out of the parking lot at the same time for the three buildings – Jeff-Craig, the middle school, and the high school.

Should a new elementary school be built, the administrative offices would likely be moved to the current Jeff-Craig. The current administration building is over 100 years old, and is in need of constant repair and upkeep. Asbestos is also a problem, as is flooding in the basement and concerns with the heating and electrical system.

Jefferson-Craig could also be used to house some special needs classrooms; as well as provide classrooms on the west end if needed by the middle school.

A new elementary school would almost certainly include a new gym, which would eliminate the sharing that is now going on between the middle school and Jeff-Craig and allow coaches to have practices earlier in the evening.


All of these options will be discussed in the series of meetings, which begin today (Thursday), with a meeting at the administrative offices in Vevay on Seminary Street at 3 p.m.

Another meeting will be held tonight at Switzerland County Elementary, and that meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.

A meeting will be held this Monday, January 22nd, at the Moorefield Firehouse beginning at 6:30 p.m.

There will also be a meeting at Patriot Town Hall on Thursday, January 25th. That meeting will also begin at 6:30 p.m.

On Monday, February 5th, the school corporation will also conduct a public walk through and presentation at Jefferson-Craig Elementary School. This will allow the community to see first-hand the issues with the school. That tour will begin at 6:30 p.m.