Fort Wayne Community Schools Board of School Trustees is ready and able to make improvements to its buildings.

With the numbers calculated by Board member Noah Smith, more than $11 million in contracts for construction in FWCS buildings will be completed by Fort Wayne-based businesses.

At the Oct. 25 meeting, the School Board unanimously voted in favor of all agenda items but one, which Smith abstained from due to conflict of interest. Board member Julie Hollingsworth was absent, and Stephen Corona participated by phone.

The Board approved the 2022 budget, 2022 levy, Capital Projects Plan for 2022-24 and the bus replacement plan for 2022-26. The budget was presented to the Board and the public at the Sept. 13 meeting. Public expression was available for those who wanted to speak at the Oct. 25 meeting, but no comments were made.

With the 2022 budget in place, many projects and logistics for updates in FWCS buildings were proposed and approved. Some of those projects were declared emergent and will be funded by the emergency allocation with the Capital Projects plan.

Those improvements include:

  • Structural wall repairs caused by vehicular damage from a delivery truck in the cafeteria of Adams Elementary
  • Pool deck drain repairs at Helen P. Brown Natatorium
  • Repairing or replacing leaking gas main at Anthis Automotive Center
  • Removing fallen sections of exterior plaster and installation of new metal panels at South Side Auditorium

The total of these projects amounts to approximately $141,608.14. The Board approved these emergency repairs.

Indiana law requires projects that cost more than $100,000 to enlist a registered architect or professional engineer for developing the plans and specifications. The Board agreed that Elevatus Architecture should lead the expansion and renovation of Levan R. Scott Academy, and Moake Park Group Inc. should conduct the addition to Abbett Elementary.

Elevatus Architecture estimated the design contract fee at $638,000 and the construction budget at $11,600,000. Moake Park Group Inc.’s estimations were at $143,700 and $2,395,000, respectively.

These two projects will be funded by the ESSER grant provided by the state.

Construction managers are also required for these projects. The Board approved Weigand Construction Company for the Levan R. Scott Academy work and FCI Construction for the addition to Abbett Elementary.

For Levan R. Scott Academy to expand, a property near the school needs to be purchased. The Board allowed the district to buy the lot located at 724 E. Fairfax Ave. This land will allow for additional parking, a separate bus lane and parent pickup lanes. The money for this purchase will come from the district’s Operations Fund.

The next discussed project involved an expansion of the Nutrition Processing Center Warehouse to be funded by ESSER money. This update will allow for more cold food storage to have more items on hand for students and employees. The Board approved the expansion to be completed by July 23, 2022.

More projects discussed included HVAC improvements at Snider High School and South Side High School; replacing auditorium lighting at Northrop High School; mechanical physical plant improvements at Northside High School and South Side High Schools; and ventilation improvements at Adams Elementary School, Forest Park Elementary School, Study Elementary School, Kekionga Middle School and South Side High School. These projects will be funded by ESSER money except for the auditorium lighting updates. The money for that project is currently in the department budget from the 2016 School Building Basic Renewal Restoration and Safety Project.

The Board also approved the ratification of the teacher, classified employees and nurses’ contracts and non-unionized employees’ wages. Most employees will receive an approximate 4% raise.

“We are very happy to do this for our teachers,” Board President Anne Duff said. “We really appreciate everything they have been doing, especially in the last year and a half.”

These contracts will be retroactive to July 1, the beginning of the district’s fiscal year, and will last until 2023.

Vice President Maria Norman thanked the staff as well.

“I just want to say thank you so much to all of our staff members,” Norman said. “I am really excited to give everybody a raise. I think it’s very well-deserved. I can’t say we made it through because it’s still ongoing, but thank you so much. I know it’s been difficult and a lot of extra work.”

The Board also:

Approved the application and acceptance of an advancement from the Indiana Common School Fund for educational technology equipment in the amo

  • unt of $2 million.
  • Unanimously voted to approve the purchase of two 84-passenger buses, four 24-passenger buses with wheelchair lifts and one 14-passenger special purpose activity bus from Kerlin Bus Sales & Leasing in the amount of $816,410. This total includes a trade-in allowance of $35,500.
  • Heard a presentation on co-curricular activities.

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