Architects Present Facilities Task Force Findings to Knox School Board

Input from a community task force has led to some tweaks to Knox Community Schools’ facilities proposals. Tom Neff with architectural firm Schmidt Associates reviewed some of the task force’s suggestions with the school board during a work session Monday.

He said that in the end, the consensus was to keep the grade configurations the same as they are now, with kindergarten through fourth grade continuing to be housed at the elementary school, fifth through eighth grade at the middle school, and ninth through 12th grade at the high school. However, concerns remain about the conditions of the elementary school’s Palmer wing.

Neff said the Palmer wing could be demolished, and a new 33,000-square-foot addition for third and fourth grades could be built extending south from the newer portion of the building. The corporation office and Redskin Academy could be moved to the middle school.

The high school may also get a couple of additions on its north side. One would house the vocational programs currently located in the middle school. Another would be a multipurpose room, which would be able to handle special events, band and sports practices, and academic uses. The second floor of the high school could see significant renovations. However, Neff said the condition of the high school’s pool wasn’t as bad as originally thought, so it could potentially be kept.

The proposal also calls for the reconfiguration of the school corporation’s parking lots, to improve traffic flow and safety. Redskin Trail could be closed. All three schools would get secure entries.

Rough estimates put the cost of all that work just under $20 million, which financial projections show would allow the work to be done without a tax increase, due to the timing of the potential project.

The school board spent nearly two hours reviewing and discussing the proposals with Schmidt Associates representatives, task force members, and school administrators Monday. Superintendent Dr. William Reichhart suggested holding a couple public presentations on the plans next month, before possibly moving on to official public hearings in May. The proposed timeline calls for construction to start in the spring of 2020.

Slides from Neff’s presentation can be found on the community task force blog.