Over the years, the Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation (MVCSC) has experienced increased student enrollment. With the construction of the elementary schools and renovation of the high school, the district is in pretty good shape, with one sticking point. Mt. Vernon Middle School (MVMS), which currently houses grades 6-7, has not seen a great deal of renovation over the years. The original construction was designed to hold three grade levels, however, as enrollment increased over the years, trying to do that posed quite a challenge and the district moved the composition to two grade levels.
Under the direction of the Board of School Trustees, MVCSC Superintendent, Dr. Shane Robbins, organized a community feasibility study task force. The group consisted of 24 members and represented a broad range of key stakeholders in the school district. A feasibility study was commissioned by Ogle, McGuire and Shook (OMS), out of Indianapolis. OMS met with community members and staff, surveyed students and analyzed attendance data and community growth, among other research. At the end of the study, the task force looked at three possible options:
- No Change - Remain with the current configuration with both the high school and middle school approaching capacity. Cost- $0
- Renovate MVMS - This would add approximately 20 classrooms, house grades 6-8, and increase capacity nearly 450 students accounting for future growth. Cost: Approximately $10 million
- Return to the previous configuration of K-4, 5-6, 7-8, and 9-12 - It would require renovating the former Fortville Elementary School, adding space for the administration offices and cause for the elimination of the preschool program while at the same time not fix the capacity issues at MVMS. Cost- $11.2 Million
The three renovation options presented by OMS at the August 2016 School Board of Trustees meeting were weighed heavily by the board. At the September 2016 School Board of Trustees meeting, the second option of renovating the middle school for $10 million was unanimously decided as the best option for the MVCSC. The schematic of the renovations can be found HERE. The green area is the cafeteria renovation that is already in progress.
Currently, the $10 million in proposed new projects would be offset by an $8 million in savings that the district just captured in refinancing some of the current bond debt (without extending the length of the debt). With the district's current debt structure, these projects would cause a zero increase to the current debt service tax rate levied by the district. The 2017 tax rate in Mt. Vernon is projected to be the lowest levied by the district since 2012.
MVCSC School Board of Trustees President, Mike McCarty, states, “on behalf of the school board we are pleased with the hard work and results of the feasibility study from OMS and the feasibility task force. The selected renovation option will allow growth at the two schools nearing capacity and we will be able to accommodate projected growth. Mt. Vernon Schools have encountered this growth due to the academic excellence that our dedicated and talented staff provides.”