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Back to School: What's new in the LSC, TSC & West Lafayette Schools

News 18 is heading "beyond the basics" as we gear up for the start of school. The three superintendents of Tippecanoe County public schools said there is a lot of new completed building projects, but it's really what is going on now for future completion that's more exciting.

Posted: Aug. 6, 2018 7:00 AM
Updated: Aug. 6, 2018 11:59 AM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — News 18 is heading "beyond the basics" as we gear up for the start of school. 
The three superintendents of Tippecanoe County public schools said there is a lot of new completed building projects, but it's really what is going on now, for future completion, that's more exciting.

Lafayette School Corporation (Aug. 7)

As you drive on 18th street, you can see and hear that it hasn't been a quiet summer for the Lafayette School Corporation.

"The addition to Tecumseh is scheduled to open the first day of school," said Superintendent Les Huddle. "During the first semester, we are also redoing some of the internal parts of that. But everything should be done in January of 2019."

The renovations have been in the work since 2016 and include a new wing with classrooms and an updated cafeteria. 

Bronco Plaza, or the old Hiatt Drive, between Tecumseh and Jeff High is set to be completed this fall. Huddle said this will provide a safer traffic pattern for students being dropped off at the two schools. 

While it's been pretty busy at Tecumseh and Jeff, if you cross Teal Road, it seems like it has been pretty quiet at the old Lafayette Life Building. As we previously reported, the building will soon become the district's career academy.

"It's all internal right now," said Huddle. "Asbestos is being removed and it should open on schedule a year from now."

Students from LSC, Tippecanoe and West Lafayette Schools will be able to use the academy. In April, the school board approved bids totaling $11 million to complete phase one. 

"Then kind of hidden back in our Glen Acres neighborhood, you are seeing a brand new building go up there," said Huddle. "Once that building is done, a year from now you will see the old building come down."

West Lafayette Community School Corporation (Aug. 9)

"The school district has always been academically rich, but over the years has struggled with facilities." 

Superintendent Rocky Killion said students will finally see some those facilities upgraded on day one this year. 

Killion said the new West Lafayette Intermediate School on the corner of Lindberg Road and Salisbury Street will be up and operational sometime this fall semester, meaning there will be a move for students in the middle of the year. He said it is ahead of it's Jan. 2019 original completion date and is under budget. The district plans to announce the move-in and completion date for the intermediate school at Monday's school board meeting (Aug. 6).

A new wing and several classrooms has been added to Cumberland Elementary. The students will be able to enjoy those facilities in the fall. Remodeling of the inside of the school will continue. The Cumberland Project will wrap up in summer 2019.

"Over at the junior/senior high school, the Richard Wachs Aquatic Center has started with the pool infill," said Killion. He also said an announcement on an expansion of the junior/senior high school will be released at Monday's school board meeting.

"It's been a long process but we have done everything strategically," said Killion. "We are replacing debt with new debt so we are not impacting the tax rate."

Tippecanoe School Corporation (Aug 14)

"TSC is in a pattern of growth. We always have been."

Superintendent Scott Hanback said one part of growth in the TSC this year actually isn't in one of their buildings. It's inside the soon-to-be-completed Greater Lafayette YMCA.

"Inside that YMCA, junior achievement has built a program called BizTown and Finance Park, said Hanback. "Kids actually participate in a replica model of our city. That will be for our middle school students."

Upgrades are also underway at Harrison and McCutcheon high schools to pave way for what Hanback said is a planned large-scale renovation of the two schools over the next two to three years.

"People are seeing the beginning stages of that with the turf project (at both schools), and we are moving the tennis courts at Harrison to make way for their academic wing expansion," said Hanback. The athletic department upgrades will be ready for the start of this school year. 

An expansion at East Tipp Middle School continues with the cafeteria ready for day one. Principal Shaad Buss said students will enjoy updated hallways as and new classrooms. The gym upgrade will include new locker rooms and will continue through the semester with the old gym being renovated into larger band and choir rooms. 

Hanback also said there are a few classroom expansions at Dayton, Mintonye, and Mayflower Mill elementary schools.

On the horizon, TSC is looking to upgrade Klondike Elementary.

"It's a very old school," said Hanback. "Portions of that building still stand from the 50's!"

Hanback also alluded to a new building project.

"We are looking at new construction in that area, perhaps a new school in that area to service the students in the Klondike area."

News 18 This Morning's "Back to School: Beyond the Basics" continues Tuesday as we highlight hot topics heading into this year, including how the districts are handling legislative changes in cursive writing and sex education.

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