Special election date for community center delayed to Nov. 5

The Goshen School Board was set to vote on whether to allow a referendum go to a special election on if the school corporation could renovate Goshen High School and Goshen Middle School and contribute to the Goshen Community Center.

Posted on Jan. 29, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.

GOSHEN — The Goshen community will have more time to learn about what a Goshen Community Center would mean for the city and how it would impact Goshen Community Schools because of a change in the special election date.

The Goshen School Board had been set to hold a public hearing Monday evening and to consider approval for a referendum to go to a special election that would ask voters to allow the school corporation to issue up to $10 million in bonds to either contribute to the construction of a Goshen Community Center or to build a pool structure at one of Goshen Schools’ properties, with an additional $7.15 million for renovations at the middle and high school, according to Goshen Superintendent Diane Woodworth.

The date for the special election had been set for May 7, but Woodworth announced at the Monday evening meeting that the executive committee of the Goshen Community Center Inc. had changed the date to Nov. 5 to allow more time for the public to learn about the proposed plans for the center and school renovations and for the committee to re-examine the best location for such a center and look at lowering the price tag of the project.

The board held the public hearing Monday, receiving a mix of comments, but tabled its vote until nearer to the Nov. 5 election date.

Plans for a $27.6 million Goshen Community Center call for an aquatic center with a therapy pool, recreation pool, competition pool, gymnasium, fitness center and meeting space for community use.

If the center is built, Goshen Community Schools could use that facility for its swimming and aquatics programs and renovate the pool space at Goshen Middle School and Goshen High School for other uses.

The high school’s pool area would become a fitness/weight area, according Woodworth. The high school would also add on a new music area and remodel the existing music area.

Goshen Middle School’s pool space would become a band area. The current band room would become a new orchestra room, while the current orchestra room would become special education classrooms, Woodworth said. A new fitness area would also be added along with a new food preparation area in the cafeteria.

Funds would also go to help replace Phend Field, Goshen High School’s baseball diamond, which could be forced to move if the possible U.S. 33 relocation cuts through the current baseball field.

Woodworth hopes that a referendum is approved and worded so that the school corporation is able to use funds for a pool on its own property if the community center doesn’t happen.

The Goshen City Council approved placing its referendum, which will allow voters to determine whether the city should contribute to the building of a center, on the ballot earlier this month. Bruce Stahly, one of the organizers of the community center and former Goshen superintendent, said in December that both items on the ballot would need to pass for the community center to move forward.

The school board did approve Monday evening the 2013-14 school calendar and the concept of adding more instruction time at all Goshen schools, though the board will need to approve the exact amounts of time at a later date.

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