NACS accepts elementary school construction bid

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DUPONT — Northwest Allen County Schools took another step toward opening its eighth elementary school Nov. 5. The Board of School Trustees accepted a construction bid from contractor Mosaic Building Solutions totaling $25,744,660 during its regularly scheduled meeting.

“It’s just another part of the process,” NACS Superintendent Chris Himsel said. “I can’t wait to see dirt moving.”

The bid was accepted through a 4-0 vote. Board President Kent Somers was absent during the meeting due to an employment conflict, Himsel said.

The district’s hope was to break ground on the project in late fall or early winter, but the timeline is weather dependent. The new school will occupy a 98-acre parcel of land on the north side of Hathaway Road just east of Bethel Road within Huntertown, which the school corporation purchased for $1.4 million in August.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2019, which the district hopes to complete by the summer of 2020 in order to open doors that August.

In other news:

The school board voted in favor of ratifying its 2018-19 contract with the Northwest Allen County Education Association during the meeting. Jim Walker, one of the teacher union’s chief negotiators, represented NACS educators during the meeting, expressing his gratitude for the district’s cooperation during negotiations, which began Sept. 15.

“While the NACEA would like the State of Indiana to allocate more value and financial support toward educating future generations, the NACS administration and the NACEA continue to manage resources in a sustainable manner,” the negotiation team said in a written statement. “The goal of the NACEA negotiations team is to work with the administration to support a contract that retains, values, motivates and fairly compensates the educators of our NACS community.”

The 2018-19 contract will increase some teachers’ annual salaries by $1,000 or as much as $1,700, based on evaluations, which rank teachers as effective, highly effective or in need of improvement.

This story originally appeared in our sister publication, Northwest News.