Schools plan upgrades

CHARLOTTESVILLE — Eastern Hancock officials have wasted no time in making upgrades to the district after the approval in September of a plan to finance $6 million for capital improvements.

A $400,000 new boiler system installed in late September at Eastern Hancock High School — one of the top priorities school officials listed when planning how to use the $6 million loan — is expected to save the district about $350,000 in energy costs in the next decade, said Chris Wilson, Eastern Hancock Schools facilities supervisor.

The modern boiler system consists of four units that are activated as needed, rather than one large boiler operating at full capacity at all times, Wilson said.

The old boiler system had been causing the district problems for years, Wilson said; administrators were forced to cancel a day of school in the 2014-15 school year while they waited for a part to be delivered after the boiler broke.

A facilities study conducted earlier this year determined the district was in need of a variety of upgrades at its school buildings, business manager Adam Kinder told the Daily Reporter in July.

The district’s next step is to upgrade the corporation’s waste treatment plant, a series of lagoons situated southeast of the campus.

Monday night, district officials approved a contract with Commonwealth Engineering of Indianapolis for the firm to manage the $500,000 project.

“It is beyond … repair,” Wilson said of the 40-year-old facility.

Eastern Hancock Schools superintendent Vicki McGuire and other school officials have been traveling around the region to examine the waste treatment plants of other small municipalities and schools in the past few months to learn more about modern, more efficient options.

Future upgrades funded by the $6 million bond include seating in the auditorium, renovations to locker rooms, new playground equipment, concrete updates and parking lot lights, as well as improvements to special education classrooms, officials said.

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Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or rhatcher@greenfieldreporter.com.