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SCS considering facility upgrades

Shelbyville Central Schools could be undergoing significant upgrades to one or multiple facilities in the future. A construction management services company gave details to the school board Wednesday about a study completed at each SCS building.

Victor Landfair, Vice President of Skillman Corp., provided a synopsis of the company’s recommendations to the school board based on the study it completed, which he gave to the board earlier this month.

Landfair initially met with the board two weeks ago to give an outline on how to read the study. On Wednesday, he reviewed specific areas that Skillman suggested should be targeted if and when SCS decides to make upgrades.

Coulston and Loper

Landfair recommended that Coulston and Loper elementary schools, the two oldest buildings, should undergo a comprehensive look at the suggested areas of need.

“I don’t think you will very effectively cherry pick items and be satisfied,” he said.

That does not mean those two schools would take top priority, however.

Superintendent Mary Harper suggested that she meet with Landfair, Director of Buildings and Grounds Earsel Smith and Business Manager Michelle Babcock to sit down and come up with a critical items list, based on Landfair’s overall recommendations.

Smith’s input would be helpful because he is well-versed in maintenance needs at each building as well as what areas are costing the corporation the most, Harper said. The four would then give their recommendation to the school board.

Harper did not expect to have that recommendation in time for the board’s work session on Sept. 23.

She added that the board should take some time to consider what kind of investment it wanted to put into the buildings, specifically Coulston and Loper, and if they wanted to “just band-aid some things to eventually build a new elementary.”

She said there has been discussion of potentially building a new elementary school sometime down the road.

Coulston and Loper have similar issues, Landfair said.

He pointed to the roofing at Coulston as well as the heating, ventilation and air conditioning having multiple items in need. The building also has some unused equipment that was left there when the school was remodeled 20 years ago that takes up classroom space.

The fire alarm was also listed for Coulston.

Landfair clarified that he did not mean that the alarm was faulty. He explained companies stop making certain parts, and SCS might not be able to repair or replace those parts within the next five years.

The flooring and ceilings need to be updated, he said, as well as the restrooms.

“You have some restrooms there that pretty much look like they did in 1956,” he said, drawing chuckles from school board members.

He added that other restrooms are from 1971, when the school was remodeled.

Loper also has outdated bathrooms, he said, and another issue is the improving traffic for parents and buses dropping off or picking up students.

There are also drainage issues at Loper.

Harper said that since she started working in the administration building, the administration has had the same discussions about the needs at Coulston and Loper.

“I think we’re now getting to the time that some of these things really, really have to be addressed,” she said.

Hendricks Elementary

Landfair suggested that the school board could be more selective with upgrading Hendricks Elementary, which was built later.

“I think you could be very judicious with how you update Hendricks given the condition and the kinds of needs you’re going to have,” he said.

He pointed to the Exterior Insulation Finish System, which he said should be updated every 20 years.

And unlike at the other elementary schools, the board could be more selective in what it does with Hendricks’ HVAC system.

The building will need a refresher in the next five years, particularly the 20-year old carpet, and a new paint job.

Most of the middle school is in its original state from 1991 aside from updates to the cafetorium and kitchen.

Apart from the pool, roofing and the HVAC system were two of Landfair’s greatest concerns.

High school and middle school

The high school was more complicated because of the remodeling that has been done over the years.

Landfair encouraged the school board to have a more comprehensive study done on that school’s original main water lines, adding that some of the piping was “pretty old.”

The high school was comprehensively remodeled in 2007 but he said Breck Auditorium and Garrett Gymnasium’s air handlers are 50 years old.

He recommended that they should consider the middle school a more comprehensive project whereas they could be more selective with the high school.

“This all has to be measured against what your financial capacity (is) and what is your financial capacity longterm because you may make some decisions in the next five years just buying yourself time to make a major investment down the road, or vice versa,” he said. “You may want to make an investment on some piece now with the idea you’ll address other pieces later. Having a plan allows you to know where you’re headed.”

No decisions were made during the meeting. Landfair recommended the board reach out to stakeholders, because in his experience, SCS will get some pushback if they don’t.

Shelbyville businesses to benefit from COVID-19 assistance

Small businesses in Shelbyville will be receiving additional help through the second round of federal assistance through the CARES Act, as well as a contribution from Shelbyville.

The city will be receiving $250,000 through the federal CARES Act, which will provide $10,000 grants to local small businesses that have fewer than 100 employees within city limits, according to a press release.

In addition, the city announced it was partnering up with Mainstreet Shelbyville, the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, Blue River Community Foundation and Shelby County Development Corp., which will contribute labor and resources that will allow businesses to stay open. That $50,000 contribution brings the total to $300,000.

“Shelbyville has a proud history of cooperation,” Mayor Tom DeBaun said in a press release. “Our partnerships with the state and the nonprofits in our community will help keep Shelbyville residents working.”

Shelbyville was one of 10 cities, along with seven towns and 13 counties to be recipients of phase two in the COVID-19 Response Program.

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs announced the second phase, worth $10.09 million, Thursday morning.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our Hoosier economy and they have made considerable sacrifices during the COVID-19 crisis.” Crouch said in the press release. “This funding will help Hoosier small businesses continue to recover and will help make investments necessary to create safer spaces for their customers and staff.”

Shelbyville applied for funding in the first round and intends to continue applying in future rounds.

Eligible applicants for the program are allowed to apply for us to $250,000 and include non-entitlement local units of government. The two eligible economic recovery activities included grants or loans to businesses to retain low-to-moderate income jobs.

Library rummage sale starts today

The Shelby County Public Library annual rummage sale starts today and continues Saturday.

The sale will go until 5 p.m. today in the library’s annex spread out into two rooms in the Carnegie East Wing. It will continue from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday.

A variety of household items, clothes, shoes, games, frames and more are available.

All proceeds will benefit the library staff Christmas party.

City issues grant survey

The City of Shelbyville issued an online survey last week to help the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce consider what COVID-19-related loans and grants they should apply for.

The survey is targeted toward businesses within the City of Shelbyville who are interested in receiving funding.

Planning and Building Department director Adam Rude said the survey does not have a deadline.

“We are going to continue taking responses because we are going to use that survey to help apply for any future grants,” he said.

Rude said the city initially sent out the survey as a response to a state grant city officials applied for last month. That grant is $250,000 and is intended to provide relief for local businesses. Rude said the city would know if it received the grant within the next couple of weeks.

“There’s been talks at the state and federal level for more relief grants,” Rude said. “We tried to structure the survey so we can keep using those same results and keep applying for more grants down the road.”

The survey asks multiple-choice questions related to the business’s size, ownership, and if the business had taken a Payment Protection Plan (PPP) loan. It also asks open-ended questions about how the 2019 coronavirus has impacted that specific business.

“We had been hearing from business owners for a while that obviously they were declining in sales and revenue, so we’ve been seeking out funding opportunities and trying to find those,” he said. “I think it’ll be good to try to get some money into those businesses to help them get through COVID.”

For more information on the business survey, contact the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce at 317-398-6647.

Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) announced Thursday that the City of Shelbyville will receive $250,000 to provide $10,000 grants to small businesses with fewer than 100 employees located within the City limits.

The grants are the second phase of OCRA’s COVID-19 Response Program and is federally funded.

Meisenholder leading second Save Our Children march

Brice Meisenholder has continued the Shelbyville Save Our Children movement by organizing a second protest Aug. 29.

“I knew that human trafficking has been going on for years, but I just started seeing people posting things on Facebook and so I started researching stuff, and when I was researching I found so many different things,” she said.

Of the things she found included the number of missing kids in the U.S. in 2019: 29,000.

“I have a 7 year old daughter,” Meisenholder said. “I did the research and discovered that most children in sex trafficking don’t live past 7 or 8. And that’s what did it for me.”

The protest will begin at the Shelby County Courthouse parking lot, where Meisenholder will have guest speakers, including Justin Parsley, who organized last weekend’s march. Audrea and John Mills will demonstrate self-defense techniques for children.

“These children don’t have a voice and someone needs to speak up for them and let the country know that this is going on,” Meisenholder said.

Other speakers will tell the story of how they were abused as children. Some of their stories are already out on a Facebook group Meisenholder organized (with the help of Amber Cummins) to get the word out about the protest and spread information about sex trafficking and pedophilia. The group has more than 800 members.

“Since I started that page, a few women actually put their stories about what happened to them as a little girl,” she said. “Some of them had never spoken about it before, but said my page felt safe.”

One woman even told the story of how her grandfather violated her from when she was three years old until he died, about five years later.

Other members posted similar stories, names of men arrested for pedophilia, and locations of registered sex offenders.

After the guest speakers talk, the group will march down Broadway Street toward the Walmart. Meisenholder said she didn’t know exactly how far they would march, but they wanted to go as far as they could and back to the Courthouse parking lot.

“The farther we go, the more people we can reach out to just by driving by,” she said.

She expects roughly 50 people to march, but said she would love more people to attend.

Meisenholder said she received permission from Shelbyville Police to hold the protest.