By Chris Bavender
Mt. Vernon Community School Corp. recently repaired critical infrastructure in all its school buildings through its Stewardship Project. The school corporation contracted with the construction company Emcor in 2019 to provide assessments and prioritize the most critical projects. MCVSC identified approximately $21 million of needed work for all its buildings.
“The most critical districtwide improvements were in HVAC and mechanical systems, with an emphasis on the high school and Fortville Elementary in Year 1,” said Greg Elkins, the school corporation’s CFO. “Originally, this was a three-year plan. We have already moved into the third-year phase due to savings from the first two years’ plan.”
Expanding areas at various facilities also were considered an urgent priority.
“The expansion of the cafe and performing arts at the middle school were high needs, as was identified by the facilities study and with input from teachers, building administration and the community,” Elkins said. “Those programs were lacking space to adequately support a growing student population. The added space allows us to offer our musical arts curriculum in a physical setting which better supports quality instruction.”
The Mt. Vernon Middle School Choir has been traveling to the district’s administrative center for class since April. The band had been temporarily relocated to another room at the school, making it unavailable for collaborative uses.
The updates and repairs will significantly benefit staff and students, Elkins said.
“The cafe expansion allows the middle school to potentially reduce the number of lunch periods, creating less disruption to the daily schedule,” he said. “The systems upgrades provide more efficiency, less maintenance, potentially lower utility costs and improved air quality.”
The Stewardship Projects were financed through the sale of construction bonds, which are repaid through the debt services fund. Tax rates did not increase from the new debt.