Mt. Vernon’s Future Growth Plan was the main focus at the Monday, November 16 MVCSC Board of Trustees meeting. Various architects, construction and finance specialists shared detailed reports on the dual tracks: renovating the administration/preschool building, or building a new elementary school on a location yet to be determined.
The community is invited to attend either of the presentations on December 3 or 9 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom (https://zoom.us/j/92945980133) to learn details about the dual track. The MVCSC School Board will be making the decision soon on which track to pursue and community input is needed. A survey will be immediately after the presentation, and a Virtual Town Hall will follow for those who wish to ask questions through the chat feature. Attendees are asked to keep the microphone on mute and video off due to the large number of attendees.
As both tracks are thoroughly analyzed, MVCSC has a specific focus to balance the needs of the growing district with the financial stewardship of resources. All of this planning takes great care and diligence, and requires the most accurate information possible from the specialists.
The Mt. Vernon Community Champions (MVC2) and the MVC2 Advisory Committee, which consisted of over 300 community stakeholders collectively, identified the desire for new grade level configurations to help manage the projected growth. A 2019 demographer’s report projected Mt. Vernon’s growth will increase from 4,000 students in 2019 to 6,000 students in 2029.
Currently, Mt. Vernon’s elementary schools house grades kindergarten through grade five. The MVC2 recommended the reinstatement of an intermediate school to house grades five and six. This will provide room for growth in the three elementary schools and the middle school by removing an entire grade level cohort from each school. This plan also includes reusing Fortville Elementary School for the purpose it was built, that of an intermediate school.
Mt. Vernon enrollment requires three elementary schools; the dual tracks will determine whether to renovate the current administration building into an elementary building or build a new elementary school. Both plans have other domino effects throughout the campus. With space being a priority, MVCSC has entered into negotiations to purchase a new property adjacent to the main campus in Fortville. The corporation is funding this purchase with the sale of Mt. Vernon property on the south side of the district.
The traffic flow of cars and buses around Mt. Vernon schools need significant updates to ensure the safest and most efficient way of managing the traffic. Additionally, the current Bus Barn is in great need of replacement. The transportation staff need a safe facility to work on the buses and Mt. Vernon also needs to ensure that all buses are secured properly.
Mt. Vernon is committed to only selecting projects that are conservatively needed, with a focus to not interfere with future needs beyond this decade. To manage school resources well, Mt. Vernon must not build anything until just when it is needed.
Mt. Vernon is looking forward to hosting presentations on the dual track for the community on Thursday, December 3 and Wednesday, December 9 at 6:30 p.m. The two virtual meetings will be the same and will be held via Zoom. After the presentation on the dual tracks, community participants will provide input via a survey. There will also be “Virtual Town Halls” after each presentation for the community to ask questions via the chat feature. Community members will see presentations on ideas that have been developed for each track as well as the potential costs. Community input from those meetings is a vital component prior to the MVCSC Board of Trustees making the decision on which track to pursue.
Once Mt. Vernon makes the decision on which track to pursue regarding the new elementary school, other detailed aspects of the Future Growth Plan will be developed, including designs that will provide the needed space just in time for our growth. Also, once the financial plans are refined and shared with the community, it will include the full funding picture for sustainability of our student programs.
The growth Mt. Vernon is expecting provides an opportunity to plan and ensure what is needed for students to learn and grow during their school years. Please join in learning more about the dual track plans and ideas at one of our virtual meetings in December. The proverb “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today” holds true for the Mt. Vernon community today. Let’s be sure that in 20 years the Mt. Vernon community continues to thrive because of some of the decisions that will be made.