School board looking at drainage issues at Seymour High School


Changes in law will allow Seymour Community School Corp. to pursue construction projects totaling up to $5 million in 2019.

Earlier this month, school board trustees gave Superintendent Rob Hooker permission to begin the process of securing general obligation bonds to address stormwater drainage issues at Seymour High School and to continue renovating the high school’s science classrooms and labs.

Until now, Hoosier schools have had to stay within a $2 million spending threshold or projects would have to be placed on a ballot for taxpayer approval.

The process has allowed Seymour to complete many projects over the years.

Those projects include classroom additions at Emerson and Margaret R. Brown elementary schools; a new media center and classroom renovations at Cortland Elementary School; renovation of some science classrooms at the high school; and improvements to high school athletic facilities, including new soccer fields, an artificial turf football field and a new track.

Hooker said to do future expansions and/or renovations at SHS, there is a lot of work that needs to be done to improve drainage on the property to eliminate flooding.

“Apparently, this has been going on for a long time,” Hooker said. “The last bit of rain we had, we had flooding again in the band and choir rooms and the auditorium.”

The project will require contractors to take a look at the school’s roof gutters and underground drainage and study the soil and ground around the buildings. There also is a need to do several days worth of scoping of plumbing in and around the music rooms and auditorium to check drains, Hooker said.

“We need to go underground to determine the scope of some of these projects,” he said. “We need to dig some holes and figure out what the options are. How deep do we have to go as far as cost?”

The bonds will help pay for the engineering, financial and architectural services needed for the work.

Some of the bonds also will be used to renovate the remaining science classrooms. The first phase was completed this summer.

That project also will require some scoping of drainage and plumbing to avoid possible delays, Hooker said.

“We will need to have a camera run on the drains because we have two separate buildings, the 300 building and the original building, and we discovered in the last project that the drain pipes are different sizes,” Hooker said.

School board trustee Max Klosterman said he is not against the work because it’s important the school board knows what they are dealing with when it comes to drainage at the high school.

“I’ve been on the board a long time, and it’s a mess out there,” he said.

He suspects the stormwater lines leaving the high school property are not big enough to handle expansion.

Hooker said that is a possibility and the school may need some kind of underground detention system installed.

“What we’re trying to find out is would larger capacity pumps work if we have more capacity to pump to move it on west,” Hooker said. “The architect suggested you need to find this out first because it can take a lot of your money to solve the high school stormwater challenges before you do anything in the future with larger projects.”

Another area needing improvements is the Seymour Middle School track and field area, Hooker said.

“We’ve been approached about replacing the middle school track,” he said. “It has exceeded its lifespan, I believe, and we need to do approximately four core borings around the track to see what we have as a base before we make a decision or recommendation to do that.”

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