Work underway on City Schools projects

By Mandy Underwood

In the fall of 2018, Wabash City Schools building principals, head of facilities, and district leadership walked through all of the corporation facilities and identified the most pressing needs when it came to updating those facilities.

“We identified eight projects and after prioritizing those projects, we sought financing to be able to accomplish those projects without impacting the tax rate,” said WCS superintendent Jason Callahan.

“We were approved to complete $18 million worth of facility work across the district over the next 18 months. In 2019, we were able to renovate our tennis courts and complete facility projects such as paving the drives at Wabash Middle School and the parking lot at OJ Neighbours.  Late this winter we were able to connect a new chiller at Wabash Middle School.”  

The four major projects include an 8-classroom addition and complete renovation of the existing space at LH Carpenter Early Childhood Center; an expansion of Coolman Gymnasium and new locker rooms; a connecting hallway between Wabash Middle School and Wabash High School and a new front entrance to Wabash Middle School; and the last project is the Alumni Field and Track project which consists of an 8-lane track with a timing system and turfing the football and soccer field.  Three of the four major projects are underway.  The demolition of Alumni Field and Track will begin by mid-May.” 

Specifics the four major projects are:

L.H. Carpenter Early Childhood Learning Center: This project was designed to alleviate overcrowding concerns at O.J. Neighbours Elementary School and to expand the early childhood opportunities.  Between 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, Wabash City Schools nearly doubled its preschool offerings to include an expansion of the Spanish Dual Language Immersion program. With the new addition set for completion in the fall of 2021, Wabash City Schools plans to move kindergarten classes to the new L.H. Carpenter facility. 

Coolman Gymnasium Expansion: The girls varsity locker rooms needed improvements.  WCS officials sought to build new locker rooms on the north side of Coolman Gymnasium.  These additional rooms allowed the ability to finish building out the balcony of Coolman with more than 500 new seats.  The motivation for that is to be able to hold more IHSAA tournament games for both boys and girls basketball.  This project is set to be completed by the beginning of the 2020-21 Wabash High School girls basketball season.

Wabash Middle School and Wabash High School Connector/Wabash MS Entrance: “Wabash City Schools places a priority on school safety,” said Callahan.Since the building of Wabash Middle School in 1968, students have walked back and forth outside between the two buildings, Callahan noted.  This project provides a secure hallway between the two buildings that will also provide study corrals for students.  This project will also renovate the entrance of Wabash Middle School so that visitors will enter through a secure area before walking into the building.  This project is set to be completed by early winter of 2020.

Alumni Field Track and Turf: This project is designed to expand opportunities and provide greater safety in sports. By adding 2 lanes and a state-of-the-art timing system, Wabash City Schools will be able to host more track events and better prepare our student athletes. By turfing the field, opportunities will be increased. Soccer games will be played at the new facility and marching band and P.E. classes will be able to use the facility without damaging the field.  This project will be completed by the opening home football game this fall.

Posted on 2020 May 05