Plans are in motion to add as many as 144 sports-related parking spaces at Flat Rock-Hawcreek schools.
The cost of adding the spaces (and for various other paving improvements) will determine not only the project's scope, but also how many unrelated projects the school corporation can check off its bucket list.
"Paving is our top priority," Superintendent Shawn Price said. "When we have sports going on at both schools, the parking is just not adequate."
Flat Rock-Hawcreek School Corp. came into about $800,000 recently when it refinanced the debt incurred from a building merger that put the campuses of Hope Elementary School and Hauser Jr./Sr. High School under one roof along Indiana 9. Because of historically low interest rates, the district was able to cut its interest rate on the $19 million project from 4.75 percent initially to 2.2 percent.
With those savings in mind, district officials put together a priority list of projects that were previously delayed because of a lack of funds.
Installing a new elementary school playground.
Upgrading and connecting an old fire suppression system to a new system.
Replacing flooring in 11 elementary classrooms.
Replacing ceiling tiles in an elementary school hallway and classrooms.
Remodeling two high school restrooms and four elementary school restrooms.
Converting an outdoor courtyard into a learning area.
Because paving is considered more important than any of them, corporation officials rushed to open the bidding process for that on Friday. Price said he expects bidding to end Feb. 17 and for the school board to award a contract Feb. 21. He said that if those timelines are met, as he expects, work probably would begin in the spring or summer and finish by the beginning the 2017-18 school year.
Corporation officials expect the cost of paving to come in at between $150,000 and $300,000, depending on how much the corporation decides to do. The full $300,000 project would include adding 144 parking spaces to the 60 to 65 it has now north of the field house. It also would include the installation of a turning lane leaving the elementary school and filling/sealing cracks in existing pavement.
Any funds left after that would go toward the other priority-list projects.