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A Time for Change at C.P. Schools
Board names school chief

By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor

CROWN POINT — 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, 48, said.
   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 better."
   Sprunger, his wife Ann and son Brent attended Monday’s board meeting.
   "We are really looking forward to becoming part of Crown Point," he said.
   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 Tuesday’s 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 group’s 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 exist."
   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.

New building's design revealed
By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor

CROWN POINT — The school corporation’s architect on Monday presented drawings of a new high school that the School Board will take into Tuesday’s public hearing on the project.
   The building design was little changed from one presented last month, but included information on the building’s exterior and a more detailed listing of interior features.
   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 school’s main entrance will open into the commons-cafeteria.
   "It makes a very compact plan," which is also expandable, Grabow said.
   "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, Grabow said.
   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 it’s going to last for a while."
   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 school’s 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 corporation’s 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 newspaper."
   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.

 

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