Lake to expand new high school
Written by DEBBIE ROGERS Sentinel Staff Writer
Thursday, 21 March 2013 09:40
MILLBURY - It's not even a year old yet, and the new Lake High School is ready for an expansion.
At Wednesday's meeting, the Lake Board of Education approved spending $10,000 to get the second-floor expansion designed. The work will be done by the Collaborative Inc., Toledo, which designed the new high school.
The $25.5 million, 144,350-square-foot building, which replaced the high school destroyed in a June 2010 tornado, opened to students in August.
The "build out" expansion will be about 10,000 square feet and have five to seven classrooms, said Superintendent Jim Witt.
It is expected to cost $300,000 to $400,000, said board president Tim Krugh.
The money for the expansion is coming from the Joseph Baker estate. Baker, who died in 2008, was a 1940s graduate of Lake High School. He never married or had children and went on to become an engineer at Ford Motor Co., Krugh said in a November 2010 interview. He credited Lake with his success and left his estate to the school district.
Baker's heirs had contested the gift and, Krugh said Wednesday, the estate had been tied up in court.
Since being resolved in the school district's favor, Lake has received $220,000. The money, Krugh said, has been placed in the permanent improvement fund, which can only be used on tangible items, not personnel or salaries.
Krugh said the estate will not cover all of the expansion's expense. But Treasurer Jeff Carpenter said the district is getting a steal on costs, since the "shell" is already in place.
"This is a very cost-effective method to add square footage of this size," he said.
The expansion is needed so soon after the high school opened due to Walbridge Elementary being shuttered last year in a $1.15 million wave of district-wide cuts to save money. The kindergartners and first-graders from Walbridge were moved to Lake Elementary for this school year.
"With the closure of Walbridge, we're really, extremely tight on space," Krugh said.
Staying in Walbridge would not have been feasible and would have ultimately been more expensive, administrators said. Witt and Carpenter said utilities were high at Walbridge and the district is saving money in transportation costs. Carpenter said it cost $50,000 annually just to keep Walbridge open and operating.
"Walbridge was obsolete," Krugh said.
How to use the new classrooms hasn't been decided, but administrators are considering having other grades, such as middle school students, use it. The middle school is adjacent to the high school and connected with a corridor.
The expansion is expected to be ready by August for the 2013-14 school year.
Also at the meeting, the board:
• Accepted donations of a bell kit for band valued at $250 from Todd Maybery and supplies valued at $75 from Sandra Faulkne.
• Went into an executive session to discuss appointment, dismissal, employment and compensation of personnel. No action was taken.