Voters to decide on new NACS elementary school

The Northwest Allen County Schools district held a hearing on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2017, to discuss plans to build a new elementary school.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The popular statement, “If you build it, they will come,” isn’t true for Northwest Allen County Schools.

Quite the opposite, in fact. The district already has residents coming – they just need to build it.

It, in this case, is a new elementary school. The district on Tuesday held a preliminary determination hearing to discuss the demand for a new school to meet the need in its growing community.

Northwest Allen County Schools is considering building a new $31 million elementary school, which would be the district’s eighth. At Tuesday’s meeting, the district said is has some 500 more students than it did when Eel River Elementary opened in 2009, when half-day kindergarten was an option.

Now, the district said 24 kindergarten classes are necessary – and the need will only grow. Northwest Allen County Schools expects 300-500 more young students in the next 4-6 years.

Whether those new students will have a new school to attend, though, will be up to voters.

The district will seek voter approval in a referendum in May to fund the project – a $33.98 million development that includes the cost to build the school in addition funding to improve 10 other schools. The debt will be repaid over 19 years, the district plans.

If approved, the average resident with a $173,300 home in the district will pay an addition $8.54 per month in property taxes. A resident with a $250,000 home will pay $13.84 a month.

Relief will come soon, though: the district said the debt it incurred from the building of Maple Creek Middle School will come off its books in two years, which will help to minimize the impact.

It’s not clear where a new school would be built.

The district will hold another preliminary determination hearing on Dec. 18.