TC School Board seeks USDA grant

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Funds could ease construction costs

By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

TELL CITY - Tell City-Troy Township School Board members voted in a special meeting Feb. 16 to approve an application for a grant that could be worth up to $150,000, to continue the employment of the Evansville architectural firm, Veazey, Parrott and Shoulders, and to begin the process toward securing a loan to fund continued renovations at Tell City High School. The possibility of securing the grant, which would come through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Program, was the purpose for calling a special meeting a week after the board had conducted a regular meeting, Schools Superintendent Ron Etienne said It could fund furniture and equipment, and if the school corporation opted to borrow all of the money it needs for the project, could get below-market interest rates and a longer payback period, he explained. Rural Development offers a 40-year repayment option, he said. He wasn't recommending that, he said, but a 24-year loan would allow the corporation to make smaller payments until it pays off a debt incurred for the construction of William Tell Elementary School.  In providing an update to the renovation plans, architect Scott Veazey said he'd met with school staffers, who told him they didn't need four full science labs, as were originally planned. Four classrooms could share two labs, whose cost could run $80,000 to $120,000 each. The board opted to set a 2 p.m. March 25 deadline for bids and scheduled a special meeting to consider them for 5 p.m. March 30 in the high-school auditorium.  Veazey said he hoped workers could get access to the area adjacent to the courtyard shortly after spring break so work on the new offices can begin. An "aggressive schedule" may be necessary for the construction because snow days could extend the academic year into the summer, he said.  Etienne said a closing planned for the following day would "put us two days beyond the end of the year" and if further cancellations occurred, "we will have to address what we'll do and how it will affect graduation. I don't expect any relief from the state, but I could be fooled."  He said Friday students will have makeup days Easter Monday and May 24 and 25.

In other business, the board approved the employment of Jonathan Gonzalez as volunteer drum-line instructor.