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MCS to hold hearings on fieldhouse

by ANDREW MACIEJEWSKI, - amaciejewski@wabashplaindealer.com

NORTH MANCHESTER — Manchester Community Schools’ school board will hold two public hearings to gather public input on its proposed $10-million fieldhouse to address safety concerns.

The board approved a recommendation to hold hearings on May 29 and June 5 rather than tabling the project, which was proposed to address safety concerns about students being forced to walk outside between the junior and senior high buildings. The board will publicly vote on the project on June, at which time the board can either accept, decline or alter the project and hold two more public hearings.

Interim Superintendent Michael Pettibone says the project may “enhance North Manchester and the northern part of Wabash County,” citing decreasing population concerns.

If the board votes in favor, there will be a 30-day period for the public to file a petition to have the question considered as a referendum in November.

Pettibone says the board and administrators will be listeners during the hearings, allowing everyone to voice their opinion.

Plans for the feildhouse include courts for volleyball and basketball, a 200m indoortrack, locker rooms, an art gallery and an advanced manufacturing lab. The space will also allow students to travel between the junior and senior high buildings indoors.

Also on Tuesday, the school board motioned to extend Pettibone’s interim contract through the 2018-19 school year.

The contract is for 240 days, starting July 1, 2018 and ending June 30, 2019. Pettibone will be awarded $442 per day, totaling more than $106,000.