Finances, design next steps for downtown Jeffersonville elementary

Greater Clark County Schools Superintendent Andrew Melin. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Greater Clark County Schools Superintendent Andrew Melin. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) – Members of the Jeffersonville community are rallying behind plans to build a new elementary school downtown.

Greater Clark County Schools (GCCS) Superintendent Andrew Melin said the board's approval to seek funding has cleared a major hurdle.

Members of the public against the project can weigh in during a 30-day period, which the city said has begun. Input from the public and public notices are required before plans for a new school can be finalized,

A petition against the new building would require 500 signatures from residents in order to stop the project from progressing.

If a valid petition happens, the plans would be put on hold. Each side would submit petitions to the public to see which side would gain the most signatures, halting or continuing the plans.

In the meantime, the school district is looking for ways to finance the project and put together a formal design with an architect.

Earlier designs put forward by the district are conceptual, Melin said, and once the project moves forward they will look to create concrete plans.

The $15-million dollar project would cost taxpayers an average of $24 more each year.

Both Community Action of Southern Indiana and Bethel A.M.E. Church in Jeffersonville are interested in moving into the Maple and Spring Hill sites. The schools will close regardless of the downtown elementary school's future, district leaders said.

GCCS is currently negotiating with both Bethel AME and CASI to find a fair price for the schools, should the sale move forward.

Melin said repurposing the buildings would provide more resources for the community. Repurposing both the schools and the Nachand Fieldhouse (built in 1937), which would be used as a school gym part of the day, would benefit the school while keeping project costs down, according to Melin.

"I mean, this to me is a win, win for everybody. And again, it's being sensitive to our taxpayers. By attaching our building to Nachand, we get to reduce the cost of the building project," Melin said.

If plans continue unhindered, construction on the new school could start in the fall.

The location for the downtown elementary school is located along Court Avenue in Jeffersonville near Meigs and Mechanic. If the spot is turned into the new school, classes could begin January of 2020.

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