INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Public Schools is asking the Board of School Commissioners to consider $95 million in improvements to the district’s high schools and other facilities.

During Tuesday’s agenda review session meeting of the IPS Board, the commissioners are expected to host a public hearing and discuss the 2023 deferred maintenance improvement projects. According to a draft of the project resolution, which accompanied the agenda for Tuesday evening’s meeting, this includes athletics improvements, high school repairs and improvements, and fire safety upgrades.

IPS is proposing to issue bonds to pay for this project, with a payoff schedule of 19 years. The district said the estimated maximum tax rate impact would be $0.0873 per $100 of assessed value. The district stressed it would not increase the current 2023 non-exempt debt tax rate if it is approved.

This comes after voters approved a $410 million capital referendum in May. According to the district’s website, this referendum gave the district the chance to move forward with building improvements to more than 20 elementary and middle schools in the district.

Parents we talked to said these projects are necessary.

“I feel like this is better for her environment,” said parent Carlos Ortiz. “Especially with this heat and temperatures, if we take care of getting air conditioning units, it should help.”

IPS officials said the 2023 deferred maintenance projects focus mainly on the high school level, as well as other projects involved in the $1 billion plus in reported needs at IPS-owned properties that were outlined in the 2020 facilities review. The district identified and prioritized the 2023 projects by:

  • The age and state of the facility
    • Schedule of deferred maintenance
  • Programmatic needs
    • Athletics competition-level requirements;
    • Improved internet connectivity.
  • Safety and equity
    • Accessibility for students with exceptionalities;
    • Student safety and environmental wellness;
    • Addressing historic divestment and inequity.
  • Improved water and energy efficiency;
  • Resource allocation.

The district outlined the 2023 deferred maintenance projects in the following ways, including the estimated budget for each project:

  • Elevators, air conditioning, related plumbing
    • Elevator at the Ed Center – elevator replacement inclusive of partial roof repair: $2,600,000;
    • Elevator repair/replacement – high priority buildings: $3,740,000;
    • HVAC at the Ed Center – chilling and plumbing upgrades: $3,400,000;
    • HVAC, including the water heater at William Penn 49 and the HVAC distribution, energy generation and heater at James Russell Lowell 51: $4,000,000;
    • HVAC at Nicholson 70, including the plumbing fixtrures, new water eater and exterior energy windows: $2,500,000.
  • Fire alarms
    • Fire alarms at Arsenal Technical High School – West gym, Barracks, Allen Hall, Media Center, Stuart Hall, Treadwell Hall, Arsenal Building, Moon Hall, Anderson Auditorium, Morgan Hall and West Residence: $2,000,000;
    • Fire alarms at various schools including Anna Brochhausen 88, Merle Sidener 59, William Penn 49, Arlington Woods 99, Theodore Potter 74, Clarence Farrington 61, George H. Fisher 93, James Russell Lowell 51, Crispus Attucks High School, Shortridge High School, George Washington High School, Nicholson 70: $4,100,000.
  • Educational program upgrades and adjustments
    • Theater at Shortridge High School, George Washington High School, Arlington Middle School, Northwest Middle School – stage lighting, rigging and floors: $5,800,000;
    • Technology – AV implementation: $9,500,000;
    • Technology – recabling, MDF, camera and switches at multiple schools: $9,000,000;
    • Special education relocations: $1,800,000.
  • High school facility foundation and building repair
    • Facility at George Washington High School including foundation/site repairs and windows: $12,000,000;
    • Facility at Arsenal Technical High School including improvements to the east gym and Lone Hall: $3,100,00;
    • Facility at Crispus Attucks High School including exterior walls and foundation repairs: $3,000,000;
    • Facility at Shortridge High School including improvements to exterior windows: $3,700,000;
    • Facility at Parker, including a historic preservation project to the school’s foundation: $400,000;
    • Facility at Nicolson 70, including roofing and tuckpointing: $1,500,000;
    • Storm water management at fields and paved surfaces: $6,000,000.
  • High school athletics renovations
    • Crispus Attucks High School – new visitor and home bleachers with demolition of existing bleachers, new press box and west gym floor replacement: $2,670,000;
    • George Washington High School – mill and resurface existing track and D-zone, artifical turf at football, add visitor’s stand for 650 and sidewalk, and add a new sound system: $3,690,000;
    • Shortridge High School – main gym mezzanine repurpose and improvements, seating improvements and press box improvements, and artificial turf football field: $5,500,000.

After Tuesday’s discussion, the board is expected to vote on Thursday on the resolutions for the improvements. The board is also expected to vote on a preliminary determination and reimbursement resolution, which outlines the estimated costs and the expected tax impact. Public hearings are also expected to be hosted surrounding this topic at Thursday’s meeting.

If the measures are ultimately approved by the board, IPS officials expect the board to consider resolutions on the need for projects and various lease matters during its Oct. 26 meeting. The board will then vote to authorize issuance of debt, approve the sale of land and approve the preliminary offering statement in November while officials finalize the debt issuance by the end of the year.