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Community gives feedback on $30M plan to fix New Prairie schools

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The New Prairie School Board held its first community forum Monday night to get feedback about wanting to invest millions of dollars in updating the schools.

The community was all ears as they listened closely to what changes may be coming to the schools. School Board Superintendent Dr. Paul White says these meetings are crucial for the future of the district.

"Starting tonight, over the next two and a half months we're going to be in a mode of gathering community input," he said. "If the community is in agreement with some of the proposed solutions we're going to propose some options in some instances."

With an estimated $35 million, the school board wants to invest $25 million of that into the high school for things like a new roof, boiler and other structures. They even propose to expand the auditorium in order to accommodate the entire student body.

"Much of our infrastructure is outdated, not energy efficient. We're also looking at security upgrades in a good number of situations and we're looking at some things that will better support the 21st century learning environment that we have built," said White.

The other $10 million will go towards updating structures at the elementary schools and make more room.

William Deutscher, a grandparent to students that attend the elementary school, says he supports changes that will benefit the schools.

"I think he has a lot of good ideas," said Deutscher. "I agree with some and disagree with others. I think it's good he lets the community know what he's thinking about doing and give them the opportunity to hear and listen to what he has to say."

The biggest question of the night was regarding accommodating the amount of students. Currently there are 955 students. Parents are worried if they expand the auditorium to seat 1200 they'll need to add room in just a few years.

"I agree that our community has grown and we need more room on certain parts of the auditorium and things like that are a good idea. I think it would benefit the programs."

If the project is approved it will take three school years to complete. However, the proposal will have to be passed by the school board in January and voted on by the community in May of next year.

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