R-IX Renovations ‘Full Speed Ahead’

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
Proposition S was passed in Warsaw on April 2, 2019, providing $6.2 million in funds for the Warsaw R-IX School District. The money was slated to pay off old debt from previous bond issues, HVAC modernization, roofing upgrades, fire alarm and entryway security upgrades, improved lighting, parking lot improvements, paying off lease payments and athletic field safety improvements. The work has begun with no increase in the tax rate and some projects are ahead of schedule. A $129,000 grant from COPS (School Violence Prevention Program) is helping defray the cost of security upgrades.
“We had to wait until the April 2, 2019 election was certified,” said Dr. Shawn Poyser, Warsaw School Superintendent. “Then we sold bonds in June. But, by that time all projects had been bid out for the summer. However, work is underway now. Last week old track light poles were taken out and new ones will be installed shortly. The Middle School has had new LED lighting installed and the high school is finishing up with its LED lighting this week. What a difference it makes! During January, February and March we have also bid out things like fire alarm systems which will be installed in May. The high school roof and HVAC was bid out in March and the project should start May 18 and be completed on August 7, 2020.”
Replacement of track lighting poles is scheduled to begin in May, paving of the track should begin the second week of June and the cure will begin at the end of that week. Rubber and striping on the track will begin in July and be completed before school starts on August 25.
Dr. Poyser said that on Monday, April 13, the district bid out security doors for North Elementary. This is part of security upgrades being funded with COPS grant funds. The district has already taken several safety and security measures on its own, including the installation of remote-accessible security cameras on all campuses, annual training for staff and a unique quick-deploy door locking mechanism for classroom doorways. New projects will include the installation of electronic locks with remote key fobs on 42 separate entryways, which would significantly increase the security of each building in the district. In addition, Impact Protection Adhesive on the primary entryway windows of each building will also be applied, making the destruction of glass from flying projectiles much more difficult.  These two defensive measures would give school personnel precious extra time to barricade in classrooms as well as give law enforcement more time to respond prior to a breach. Management of the COPS grant projects is being performed by Christian Meier, Assistant Superintendent of Warsaw Schools.
Although students are not in the school buildings at this time, they are still working at home and teachers have sent out assignments to be completed by the end of April. 
“Now that schools are closed for the remainder of this school year, we will send out more assignments to cover the days until school ends on May 14,” said Dr. Poyser. “Assignments are being graded and last week every student was called by his or her teacher. We are also considering other things to do with teachers including salaries and insurance. We were recently able to increase teacher base pay by $3,500.