Hums Elementary School to possibly be rebuilt

NOW: Hums Elementary School to possibly be rebuilt

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- Hums Elementary School may receive a much-needed makeover!

The School City of Mishawaka hosted a ‘Town Hall style’ Special School Board meeting Wednesday night where taxpayers, parents, and teachers got to learn about the plan to remodel the elementary school.

“One of the issues that continually has come to the forefront is Hums Elementary School,” says Superintendent of Mishawaka schools, Dr. Theodore Stevens.

He says parents and teachers have cited problems with the 50-year-old building for years.

The School City of Mishawaka is looking to either rebuild or renovate the space.

In more recent years, there's been attempts to fix its original open-concept layout by installing more walls, but it’s still not conducive for early education.

“They still have noise problems that goes from one room to the classroom and is probably negatively impacting academic performance,” Dr. Stevens explains.

With classrooms that either don’t have a door, a door that doesn’t lock, or a door that allows direct access to outside, it's simply not safe.

“Unfortunately, in today’s day in age, when you’re thinking about active shooters and incidents within buildings it’s very difficult to lock down sections of Hums to really keep students and staff safe,” says Dr. Stevens.

Occasional water leaks have also caused headaches for teachers, saying a rainy day can flood a classroom.

“It’s old, it feels old, and we’re doing the best we can,” said a longtime teacher at Hums.

The first option for the future of Hums is to completely rebuild, either into a single or multi-story building which rings up to nearly $38 million.

The second option is renovating and making additions to the existing facility, which they say will be more challenging, but comes with a nearly $35 million price tag.

School leaders want Mishawaka taxpayers to know the project won’t come out of their pocket, but from the school’s bond capacity.

“If we were to move forward with this as presented, their tax rate would remain the same,” Dr. Stevens assures.

Before they make any big decisions, school leaders want parents and neighbors in Mishawaka to be involved.

“They’re simply trying to hear the community; they want to hear what they have to say about this proposal,” says Dr. Stevens.

It’s too soon to say when the school board will vote on the proposal, but school leaders say if anyone has more questions or concerns, they can reach out to the school board.

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