Board OKs $45M renovation for Fishers Elementary 


A maximum price of $45 million to renovate Fishers Elementary School was unanimously approved March 27 by the Hamilton Southeastern Schools Board of Trustees.

Before the vote, HSE Director of Facilities Matt Rapp told the board that about a year ago, the district hired Wurster Construction as the CMC — construction manager as constructor — for the renovation and addition project at the school, 11442 Lantern Rd. A first round of bids for contractors was not successful, with costs coming in about $10 million over the budgeted projection. 

Rapp said they made some adjustments to the plan and were able to get bid costs under the budgeted amount. Those included some design changes to the playground and removing furniture costs. 

The playground will still have synthetic turf under play equipment, he said, but a larger open space around the playground will be the less-expensive natural grass. Furniture costs will come from another funding source later.

“We (also) went with a lighter regular parking lot thickness for … where the teachers and visitors (park),” Rapp said. “We stuck with the larger thickness of the asphalt in the bus parking lot.”

With board approval of the maximum price, a contract will be drafted and submitted to the board for review at a later date.  

The HSE board recently started a new meeting schedule in coordination with new Superintendent Patrick Mapes, with two regular meetings each month — one on the second Wednesday and another on the fourth Wednesday. 

“In general, you can expect the first board meeting of the month to have a full business agenda and the second meeting of the month to be much more condensed and accompanied with a work session,” Board President Juanita Albright said.

The meeting portion on March 27 lasted less than 10 minutes and included the acceptance of two administrator resignations: Chief Finance Officer Katy Dowling and Chief Operations Officer Jimmie Lake. The following work session focused on a draft 10-year capital improvement plan presented by Rapp and HSE Director of Business/Deputy Treasurer Cecilie Nunn.

Nunn said the district uses general obligation bonds to fund capital projects, such as facility improvements and equipment purchases. 

“We do that because there’s just not enough money in our operations fund budget to fund all the needs of the district,” she said. “What we do is, we review our 10-year facility plan, our 10-year technology plan or bus replacement plan and that helps us determine how much money we’re going to need in a GO bond.”

She said that as other debt is paid off, the district can accumulate additional debt to remain budget-neutral. 

Rapp said some of the projects they hope to get to soon include a new gym floor at Hamilton Southeastern High School, new touch pads at the HSE pool and new sump pumps in the building’ utility tunnel. Fishers High School needs some reconfiguring of its training room to improve traffic flow for students, he said, and there are many other projects on the list. 

The next regular HSE board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 10 at HSE central office, 13485 Cumberland Rd.