Members of the Vincennes Community School Corp. Board of Trustees met bright and early on Monday morning for their annual reorganizational meeting and elected member Pat Hutchison to lead them into 2020.
And with the fourth and final elementary school project set to wrap up this summer, Hutchison thought it a thrilling time to lead.
“This is an exciting opportunity,” Hutchison said following adjournment of the relatively brief meeting held at the VCSC Administration Center, 1712 S. Quail Run Road. “We're coming to the end of a (nearly) 5-year run with this, and it's great because this is something the community was really in favor of, keeping our four elementary schools.
“It's going to be very exciting to see (Benjamin Franklin Elementary School) finished.”
Officials with Garmong Construction, Terre Haute, the company overseeing the 4-year, $40 million project, reported to school board members that work at Franklin is going well.
In the original 1912 portion, crews are working to finish the drywall, and some painting is going on in the individual classrooms.
The new restroom and elevator tower — an addition to the school building — is well underway, too, with masonry work ongoing.
And at the new cafeteria, structural steel is completed and interior masonry work has begun.
And roofing will continue over the course of this month.
In the addition from the 1960s, there is ongoing drywall finishing, painting, masonry work and epoxy flooring going down.
Rochelle Gardner with Garmong told the board that work is “tracking very well” and that crews were even “ahead in some areas.”
“The cafeteria I'd like to see a bit further along, but no worries,” she said. “It's just one of those things as we continue to fight the weather.
“But the brick work starting this week is a great sign.”
VCSC superintendent Greg Parsley said he was more than pleased with the progress of the work.
“When I reflect back at where we were this time last year with (Francis Vigo Elementary School), we were behind on the elevator (tower) and hadn't even started the cafeteria yet,” he said. “So I feel very good with a lot of the things I see at this point.”
Franklin is the fourth and final elementary school to see a total renovation. Previously, near $10 million projects were completed at both Vigo and Tecumseh-Harrison Elementary School.
James Whitcomb Riley Elementary School saw a slightly less-extensive renovation as it's the newest of the four.
The school board originally bonded about $38 million for the four projects but did an additional $2 million bond sale last year as Franklin was tracking to cost about $2 million more than the other, larger elementary school buildings due to the rising costs of construction work.
Parsley said the school corporation is already eyeing a date for an open house at Franklin sometime in mid-to-late July; he hopes to make an official announcement, he said, sometime in the next month or two.
“We just want to get through winter and be sure on where we are with construction first,” he said of announcing a date for the open house.
In other business, Karla Smith was elected as vice-president of the school board. Barb Toole will serve now as secretary and Lynne Bobe will be the treasurer.
The board also agreed to continue meeting at 7 p.m. on the fourth Monday of the month — with exceptions being announced as necessary — and they voted to keep their salary at $2,000 per year.