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Woodlan, Heritage on track

Repairs beginning this fall to cost less than predicted

– East Allen County Schools board members heard a positive update on the Woodlan and Heritage campus projects Tuesday, learning that taxpayers may not have to pay as much for the revamped schools as originally expected.

Rod Wilson of City Securities told board members that the district would be able to take advantage of low interest rates, which would decrease the payments the district would need to make on the two major projects, slated for construction this fall. Over the course of the payments, the new rate would save the district $2 million to $3 million in payments over the course of the two 20-year leases, according to his calculations. As a result, taxpayers would see a 10 percent decrease in what they would need to pay for the projects.

“When we started out we had no idea what interest rates would be at this point,” Wilson said. “These are the lowest rates we’ve seen in the municipal bond market in a long, long time.”

Wilson also told the board it would be able to refinance an $11 million bond issue it issued in 2003, shaving off close to $800,000 on costs.

Last fall, the board approved two separate bond issues to expand Heritage Junior-Senior High School and Woodlan Junior-Senior High School. The plan would transform both schools into campuses housing students in kindergarten through Grade 12.

Both the $10.8 million Woodlan and $11.9 million Heritage projects were approved through a dueling petition process this past winter and spring.

Architects told board members they hope to start construction on Woodlan in October and begin construction at Heritage in November.

The board will take a final vote on the financing for the two building projects at a future meeting, after the public has had time to comment during a public hearing Sept. 4.

Personnel changes

The board approved several personnel changes.

Edward Mendoza, former principal at Paul Harding Junior High School, will take a special assignment as student services coordinator.

Theresa Gremeaux, former Southwick Elementary principal, will become principal at Paul Harding Junior High School.

Natalie Drummond, director of federal programs, will become principal at Southwick Elementary.

Michael Chen will become principal of Woodlan Primary/Intermediate School, replacing Jodie Clark, who resigned.