|A Time for Change at
Board names school chief
By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor
The School Board on Monday officially chose H. Steve Sprunger as the man to lead
the school corporation through the challenges of construction, tight budgets and difficult
contract negotiations while achieving high academic standards.
The School Board approved a three-year contract Monday, paying $98,000 per
year to the Pike Township school administrator, who said he was elated to get the job.
"I have great excitement about coming to Crown Point," Sprunger,
He said people around the state consider Crown Point to be a "really
fine school system.
"My hope and desire is we can take a fine school system and make it
Sprunger, his wife Ann and son Brent attended Mondays board meeting.
"We are really looking forward to becoming part of Crown Point," he
The two-hour board meeting became a good primer for the new superintendent,
who will assume his responsibilities May 1.
Several awards for academic achievement were made to students; final drawings
for the proposed new high school were presented in anticipation of Tuesdays 1028
hearing; two classes of bids were awarded for renovation work at four elementary schools;
a budget shortfall was mentioned; and the head of the teachers union spoke.
The 1999 budget shortfall which Business Director Kim Fox said will
total $300,000 to $400,000 will be addressed at the next School Board meeting. But
Sprunger will come on board in time to have input on attempting to hammer out a budget
that can be kept in balance next year.
He will also face negotiatons on a new teachers contract with the Crown
Point Education Association.
That groups leader, high school science teacher Michael David,
addressed the board after it appointed Sprunger.
David said although teachers had the opportunity to interview candidates,
they had hoped to have more input in the selection process.
"The CPEA stands ready to be more fully engaged by both the board and
new superintendent," David said.
He called for an "atmosphere where mutual respect and trust can
Board President Charles Kleinschmidt responded by saying that
"communication is a two-way street. We would expect as much from your group as you
would expect from us."
Sprunger received a light-hearted warning about the contentious issues he
will face from board member Michael McCormick. After Sprunger addressed the board and
audience, high school Principal Jim Hardman presented him with a Crown Point Bulldogs
football helmet on behalf of McCormick.
By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor
The school corporations architect on Monday presented drawings of a new high
school that the School Board will take into Tuesdays public hearing on the project.
The building design was little changed from one presented last month, but
included information on the buildings exterior and a more detailed listing of
Architect Ken Grabow presented a series of slides showing a plan that
includes "basically ... three buildings."
A two-floor academic section, a music and auditorium section, and a physical
fitness and athletic area constitute the "three buildings" of the
465,000-square-foot school. The "buildings" meet at a central area that includes
a commons-cafeteria, school offices and large lecture rooms.
The schools main entrance will open into the commons-cafeteria.
"It makes a very compact plan," which is also expandable, Grabow
"We could easily add a classroom cluster," he said.
The academic area includes four clusters of 14 general classrooms. It also
includes a media center, art classrooms, industrial technology labs, business classrooms
and science classrooms and labs.
Student lockers will be located near the entrances to the academic area and
near the stairs to the second floor, "keeping the lockers out of all the quiet
classroom areas," Grabow said.
A central courtyard will bring natural light into much of the academic area,
The music department and auditorium will share a building wing with the
boiler room, kitchen and loading dock. The auditorium will have its own entrance. The
music area will include band, choir and orchestra rehearsal rooms as well as offices, a
lab and storage areas.
The physical fitness and athletic wing will include a main gymnasium, a
fieldhouse and a pool. Offices, weight and gymnastics rooms and "lifelong
learning" rooms are also included.
The athletic wing will also have its own entrance.
Plans for the exterior of the building call for a 21-foot-high brick base,
with a stucco-like material used for the second-floor exterior.
Grabow said the goal was to keep a "traditional feel" by using
brick, and to have "architecture that looks like its going to last for a
He presented several schemes for the main entrance and the auditorium and
athletic entrances, all including clustered windows and a peaked metal roof.
A site plan showed the building sitting near Burrell Drive, with the academic
wing to the north, the auditorium to the southwest, and the athletic wing to the
southeast. Sports fields would extend south from the school.
The plan also calls for a "bus corral" on the schools east
side, separate from the parking lots "so all the bus students are completely
separated from (other) vehicle traffic," Grabow said.
| The plan
presented Monday will be part of the school corporations presentation at the
state-mandated 1028 hearing to be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the high school auditorium.
During the hearing, the board must justify the borrowing of $64 million for
the new school project.
Board President Charles Kleinschmidt encouraged the public to attend the
hearing, especially critics of the project who "communicate to the board through the
In various letters to the editor, "most of the statistical information
is wrong," Kleinschmidt said. "I would like to make a special invitation to
those people so they can have the actual facts."
After the 1028 hearing, citizens who still oppose the project have the
opportunity to institute a petition drive that will determine whether the construction
project may be undertaken this year.
All property owners would have the right to sign a petition for or against
the new school. If the forces opposing the school win, the project will be delayed by law
for at least one year.