Design plans released for school damaged by Nov. tornado

(WLFI Photo)
(WLFI Photo)

TIPPECANOE CO., Ind. (WLFI) – Preliminary design plans were released Wednesday for Southwestern Middle School which was severely damaged in November’s tornado.

A color-coded reconstruction plan was displayed to the school board.

The expected price tag is more than $11 million. Much of the cost will be picked up by insurance, though it’s unknown exactly how much or when it will be ready for students and staff to move in.

“It’s going to be bigger and better than what we had before and the kids are going to be excited,” said Southwestern Principal Karen Smith. “The plans that came into place are to service our kids in ways that we hadn’t been able to before.”

In addition to the general tornado repairs, plans call for a new secure entrance at the front door, a new entrance to allow direct access to the gym, a new choir wing in place of a rear courtyard and an expanded area for the the bands.

Southwestern Director of Bands Tom Eisan hopes the extra space helps the program grow.

“The extra additional space that we have created by the plans will allow us to do that because we were pretty crammed as we were,” said Eisan. “I’m looking forward to that.”

The school board also approved Wednesday a second school resource officer or SRO position.

TSC received a $50,000 matching grant from the state it will use to help fund the position.

Superintendent Scott Hanback said one SRO will usually serve the northern side of the district and the other will typically serve the southern, but their positions won’t be ironclad.

“The high schools are just going to serve as their base. They are out in the buildings in the district,” said Hanback. “This is just a huge advantage for our district to provide two SROs just to enhance that security, enhance that safety of all our schoolkids.”

Hanback said the name of the officer will likely be announced next week.

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