updated: 8/1/2012 12:25:22 PM
Lake Central School Corp. is set to break ground on $160 million in upgrades and expansions. Superintendent Larry Veracco says area taxpayers approved a referendum because "it was time" to update the district's aging infrastructure. The plan includes upgrades to the high school's classrooms, laboratories and athletic facilities, as well as a new elementary school.
August 1, 2012
ST. JOHN, Ind. – Lake Central School Corporation will break ground today for extensive renovations of Lake Central High School in St. John, Ind.
Together with replacing Protsman Elementary School, the district is investing $160 million to enlarge and update school facilities, funded by bonds approved by taxpayers last November. The projects also will create local construction jobs.
Schmidt Associates of Indianapolis is the architect on both projects. Construction managers are Turner Construction, which has offices in Indianapolis and Chicago, and Powers & Sons of Gary.
The high school renovation was prompted by aging infrastructure in the 1964 core of the building and overcrowding due to dramatic enrollment growth. Last year 20 teachers taught in portable classrooms.
The high school renovations include a new three-story classroom addition, new vocational classrooms, a new auditorium, a new media center, modern science labs, enlarged hallways and classrooms, a competition gym, a new swimming pool, and music classrooms with improved acoustics.
Because the existing high school needs to function, the construction will be completed in phases, with new sections built and old sections demolished over a three-year period until the work is completed in 2015.
Construction on the three-story classroom addition will begin immediately. It will occupy the current football practice field and running track area. Those activities will be moved temporarily to the Clark Middle School campus.
"We won't move any student activities inside the building until the new classroom wing is completed," said Bill Ledyard, director of facilities for Lake Central.
"We truly appreciate how our community and staff have worked together to get to this point,” said Dr. Larry Veracco, superintendent. "Once we had approval on the projects, we moved the design and construction planning phases along as quickly as possible to get started on improving Lake Central High School for our students."
"It is exciting to think about how the renovated Lake Central High School will improve the lives of our students," said Al Gandolfi, assistant superintendent. "They will have more space, better science labs, a more interactive learning environment, more technology and a modern media center, and better facilities for the arts and athletics. It will be a high school everyone in our community can be proud of."
"The only way we could design a project this large and complex and meet the schedule was to start on the design immediately after we were hired last November and work as fast and efficiently as possible to ensure that science rooms, classrooms and athletic facilities meet the needs of each department," said Tom Neff, AIA, LEED AP, of Schmidt Associates, the lead architect on the project. "Teachers and administrators have been generous with their time and diligent about reacting to plans quickly. In my 30 years of designing schools, I’ve never experienced a design project that has moved as quickly as this one."
"I can't say enough about Schmidt Associates and our construction management team of Turner Construction and Powers & Sons; they have done a great job designing the project and developing the construction schedule on a very fast track pace," said Ledyard.
The current high school is a 586,000-square-foot-building; the renovated high school will be 850,000 square feet.
Construction on a new Protsman Elementary School began in July and will be completed in the spring of 2014.
Lake Central School Corporation serves students from St. John, Dyer and Schererville.
Source: Lake Central School Corp.