The Journal Gazette
Thursday, October 28, 2021 1:00 am

FWCS adding space at 2 schools

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne Community Schools is preparing to expand two elementary schools on the city's southeast side.

With the additions, Levan Scott Academy and Abbett Elementary School will become five- and four-section elementary schools, respectively. Section refers to the number of classrooms per grade level.

The extra space is needed, Facilities Director Darren Hess told the school board Monday.

“At Abbett,” he said, “they are a four-section school, but they're operating in a 31/2-section school.”

Expanding Scott will eliminate its need for mobile classrooms, Hess said. Students and staff must leave the main building to access those rooms, which is a security concern, the district has said.

The projects are anticipated to begin next summer, Hess said.

With one member absent, the board unanimously approved the appointment of an architect/engineer to each project. Elevatus Architecture's estimated design contract fee for the expansion and renovation of Scott is $638,000, and Moake Park Group Inc.'s estimated fee for the addition to Abbett is $143,700.

The board also supported the proposed construction managers. Weigand Construction's fee for pre-construction services at Scott is $23,250, and FCI Construction's fee for Abbett is $40,000.

The estimated construction budgets are $11.6 million for Scott and almost $2.4 million for Abbett.

The 2020 referendum will support the improvements at Scott while federal coronavirus relief dollars will fund the work at Abbett Elementary.

In a third unanimous vote, the board approved buying property at 724 E. Fairfax Ave. with $36,000 from the district's operations fund. This will allow Scott to expand, and it will allow for additional parking and proper separation of bus and parent pickup lanes.

The district previously purchased other properties for this project, Hess said, and it's in conversation with three or four more despite having enough property to complete the expansion.

Securing a couple other properties will make the project easier, he said, noting the additional parking and stormwater retention that will be needed.

“It's going to eat up that space pretty quick,” he said.

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