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Feature Stories for Thursday, July 26, 2001

The STAR is distributed every Thursday.  
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Old H.S. poses problem

By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor

CROWN POINT - The School Board received a taste Monday of the cold hard facts upon which they'll have to base a decision on the future use of the current high school.
     Larry Koenes of Skillman Corp., the company studying the building's potential, said the entire structure will need work to be used in any way.
     "We have not found any part of the building that does not need to be updated," Koenes said. And "there are parts of the building we will strongly recommend you get rid of."
     He described the building as a "jigsaw puzzle" - a result of numerous additions to a core about 70 years old.
     Skillman plans to have a final report complete for the board's Aug. 27 meeting. The report will detail work that would need to be done for the building to be transformed into any of four grade configurations: a kindergarten though eighth-grade school with 800 students; a seventh- and eighth-grade school with 1,100 students; a kindergarten through sixth-grade school with 450 students; and a sixth- through eighth-grade school with 1,100 students.
     Also, Skillman will create a cost estimate for demolishing the current building and constructing a new seventh- and eighth-grade building on the site.
     Koenes said Skillman will provide timelines for all the possible projects. He noted, "You really cannot do any work in that building until June 2003" when the new high school opens.
     The issue of what to do with the current high school arose when the administration determined budget constraints would not allow it to be operated as a sixth- through eighth-grade middle school, as originally planned. The program costs of maintaining to middle schools would be too high, it was determined.
     Instead, the administration put together a committee that recommended the current high school be used for seventh and eighth grades, and Taft be used for fifth and sixth grades.
     Strong opposition to that, led by board member Michael McCormick, led school officials to reopen the issue to consider a variety of possibilities, and to hire Skillman to study the cost of them.


Lake Dale ire raised by basins

By Sean McNab
Star Staff Writer

LAKE DALECARLIA - In front of a packed house at the community's POA building, residents last week firmly voiced their opposition to the two equalization basins Cedar Lake plans on building approximately one half mile from the community boundaries.
     "These basins will be creating an extreme hazard to our community because it could possibly endanger the water we drink," said Louise Roys, president of Indiana SOS, a group opposing the basins. "We are the only site that is aquifer dependent. If any of this waste leaks and contaminates our drinking water, we have no alternatives and are stuck."
     Cedar Lake is planning to build the basins as part of the rehabilitation of its sanitary sewage system. Constructing them will regulate the flow of sewage to the Lowell treatment plant, reducing the possibility of potential leaks and overflow, according to Cedar Lake officials.
     Major concerns from the public include the possibility of contracting encephalitis from the sewage contaminants, and Cedar Lake's decision no to rehabilitate its main inceptor line which then would eliminate the construction of the basins.
     "We could lose all of our wildlife and storm birds due to construction these basins," said Roys. "Also, sickness and diseases could be more prevalent because they are so close to our town's boundaries. Cedar Lake needs to repair its inceptor line so that it can handle the waste flowage from the town and there would be no need to create these basins."
     State Rep. Robert Kuzman, D-Crown Point, said he would like to know the costs of rehabilitating the interceptor line compared to constructing the basins.
     The basins will cost approximately $2.5 million spanning over a 20-year term. Annual costs for Cedar Lake will be $105,000 to maintain them.
     State Sen. Sue Lanske, R-Cedar Lake, told Lake Dale residents about the Indiana Department of Environmental Management's circuit rider program that responds to residents' concerns about projects undertaken by neighboring communities.
     "It may be too late to do something with regards to these basins but this program could benefit for future problems," said Landske.
     Recently the Lake County Council approved the basin project over the objection of the county Plan Commission.
     Cedar Lake Town Manager Tim Brown explained why the basins were necessary for the towns rehabilitation process.
     "We never really wanted to create an equalization basin but had to because the sewage flow has been increasing. There is no way that we can process and maintain what we have with our current facility because it is practically full. This is the only way that we and the town of Lowell can move forward."
     Lake Dale contributes to the daily sewage to Lowell.
     Construction of the basins is on hold until a decision is made on Lake Dale's appeal of it.


For questions concerning the Star Newspaper or content on their articles, please contact
Star-Register Publications
112 West Clark Street
P.O. Box 419
Crown Point, IN 46307
(219) 663-4212

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