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SACS planning to replace Homestead High School

Superintendent Dr. Phil Downs said they found a way to build the new Homestead High School without raising taxes.

Posted: Feb 19, 2019 10:52 PM
Updated: Feb 19, 2019 10:57 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Southwest Allen County Schools is in the early stages of planning for a new high school.

Superintendent Dr. Phil Downs said they found a way to build the new Homestead High School without raising taxes.

"What we heard a year and a half ago was 'we'd love a Taj Mahal but we don't want our taxes to go up," Downs said.

Downs said how the project is still in the very early phases, so designs aren't done.

The project is expected to cost between $150 and $160 million.

But taxes won't go up because the debt for a new school would replace debt that is being paid off.

"We need to fill in the debt service at a level that keeps our tax rate the same," said Downs.

Downs said the whole building won't be replaced. In fact they are looking at keeping the gym and auditorium, only repurposing them.

"The main gym could be the auxiliary gym. The auditorium could be converted into more music area or a black box theater," he said.

Downs said he believes the new building would be best use of tax dollars in the community since the school, and many mechanical components, are 50-years-old.

"There's a lot of maintenance that has to happen anyways. We are at the point economically where it makes good sense to just go all in and get it done right," Downs

A public meeting explaining the finances of the project will be 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Homestead auditorium.

Construction is scheduled to begin in late 2020.

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