Learning Center to earn $4.5 million expansion

In a unanimous vote during the Huntington County Community Sch-ool Corporation Board of Trustees meeting on Monday evening, Sept. 14, a $4.5 million expansion of the Huntington County Community Learning Center was approved.

The expansion will increase square footage of the building to accommodate 24 welders – doubling the current capacity.

Seven additional classrooms will be part of the expansion, to be used for criminal justice programs, welding and precision machining.

The expansion will also allow additional space for industrial maintenance and building trades and 1,000 square feet for precision machining.

Chad Daugherty, superintendent, explained the current “alternative school will move into the learning center from the Dyer building,” after the expansion, and he added it will also allow for the return of the building trades program to Huntington North High School.

The expansion will be built on the current site of the Junior Varsity baseball field, explained Daugherty.

The project will take roughly seven months to complete, with pre-qualification packages for contractors to bid on the project estimated to be completed in December.

It was also announced that the corporation has been awarded a grant that will allow every student in the corporation free lunch through the end of 2020.

Director of Food Service Kenneth Akins applied for a USDA grant and received word of approval last week.

It was explained that all students, all ages, in all grades are eligible for this free lunch through Dec. 31.

“I am so happy Ken took the time to apply for this grant. We are excited for our community and we are excited for our students,” said Scott Bumgardner, assistant superintendent for business and classified staff.

In other business:

• Bumgardner presented a plan for improving traffic flow at Flint Springs and Horace Mann schools to the board. President Matt Roth stated, “This is an example of our administration tackling the needs of the corporation.”

• School improvement plans were presented for first reading, and will be submitted for second reading and approval at the next board meeting.

• The yearly budget was presented for first view and the board approved the advertisement of the budget to the public. A public hearing on the budget will be held at the next meeting of the board of trustees, with adoption to follow in October.

• The Employee Benefit Trust status was presented, with a current deficit status. In October a follow-up presentation will be presented with suggested solutions.

• During Core Values Discussion, it was announced that the HNHS radio station 91.9 FM was awarded a broadcast license approval through July 2028; the corporation received a CARES Act grant to help defer the cost of PPE equipment; and a digital learning grant was also awarded to assist 22 teachers to receive training.

The next board meeting will be Monday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m. at Salamonie Elementary, 1063E-900S, Warren.