Seymour schools seek input next project

During the past four years, Seymour Community School Corp. has invested more than $12 million into its education and athletics facilities.

Classroom space was added at Emerson and Margaret R. Brown elementary schools, and the lighting was replaced at Seymour Middle School.

Cortland Elementary has a new media center, and Seymour High School athletics department now has a new soccer complex and a turf football field and the track was resurfaced.

An unused building was renovated to house the corporation’s food service program, and a new agriculture science and research farm facility is being constructed and will be ready for use in the fall.

School officials now are looking at what projects to tackle next, with Seymour High School in need of the most attention, including science and technology classroom renovations, expanded spaces for the band, choir and cafeteria, adding connector hallways so students are not walking outside to get to and from the gymnasium and handling stormwater issues on the property.

On Tuesday night, Superintendent Rob Hooker introduced the Seymour Educational Blueprint Development to trustees during their regular monthly meeting.

The blueprint development is a planning phase to get public input on how to spend another $2 million in taxpayer money to improve the school corporation.

“It is time to begin the discussion of what our students need and or want in the schools and what things the community and taxpayers would support in the near future,” Hooker said.

To hear from as many stakeholders as possible, the corporation plans to conduct meetings, luncheons and surveys for school staff, administrators, students, the public, local businesses and community groups this spring and summer.

“This process will be more than a discussion on renovation projects,” Hooker said.

“This process will allow the community to address the needs of our students as they compete for jobs, careers and opportunities beyond high school.”

Although it’s an aggressive timeline, Hooker said he would like to see the school board choose a direction by October. That’s when the board will hold a public hearing and adopt the 2018 budget.

By tackling another $2 million project in 2018, the school board would be helping to keep the corporation’s tax rate steady as debt drops off, Hooker said.

The $2 million threshold allows the corporation to avoid a petition and remonstrance process in which taxpayers ultimately could stop the project before it gets started.

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Should Seymour Community School Corp. spend another $2 million in 2018 to improve its facilities? What renovations or additions do you think need to be made next?

Send us your thoughts on this issue by emailing [email protected] or mailing a letter to the editor at P.O. Box 447, 100 St. Louis Ave., Seymour, IN 47274. Please include your name and phone number so letters can be verified.