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New Castle board moving forward with middle school renovations

New Castle Superintendent Dr. Matt Shoemaker presents the 2019 Shapiro Award to teacher Norma Spangler, whoretired with 43 years experience as an educator.

By TRAVIS WEIK - tweik@thecouriertimes.com

The New Castle School Board had its second and final public hearing Monday about a plan to rebuild the city’s middle school from the inside out.

The board ultimately voted 4-0 to move forward with the plans and pursue $33.5 million in bonds to fund the project. Board member Cory Bennett was not at Monday’s meeting.

The new bonds would be spread out over 20 years, like a home mortgage. This is similar to the financing plan New Castle Community School Corporation used in the late 1990s when it remodeled the high school.

The new project would renovate New Castle Middle School to improve safety and instructional integrity at the building, while also making room for all the city’s sixth graders.

Moving the sixth grade to the middle school would open room in the elementary buildings for preschool classes, as well.

The middle school project would include: a more secure entrance, with visitors going through the main office before they can access the rest of the building; a “school-within-a-school” that would keep all sixth graders separate from the older students; and a new auxiliary gym on the back of the building.

The remodel would also allow for athletic guests and spectators to access the restrooms on that side of the building without being able to get into the rest of the building.

More detailed planning for the project should start in July. Construction on the middle school project could begin June 2020 and be done by December 2021.

Retiring teachers

As is traditional each summer, the New Castle School Board recognized long-time educators who are starting their retirement.

Monday evening, the board thanked Karen Bell, Penelope Bowman, Kathy Cartwright, Stacey Crane, Joyce Hinsey, Brenda Inskeep, Lisa Jackson, Susan McGrady, Norma Spangler and Emma Willis for their many years of service to New Castle children.

Bell taught elementary music at Riley, Sunnyside and Wilbur Wright Elementary Schools for 32.5 years.

Bowman taught elementary physical education at Parker and Wilbur Wright for 35 years.

Cartwright was a preschool teacher at Eastwood Elementary with 16 years at New Castle and six years with other school corporations.

Crane taught first grade at Parker Elementary for 32 years.

Hinsey taught high school English and mathematics for 40.5 years.

Inskeep taught third grade at Wilbur Wright and had 20 years experience.

Jackson, with 33.5 years, taught first grade at Riley Elementary.

McGrady taught second grade at Wilbur Wright and had 38.5 years.

Willis taught high school mathematics at New Castle for 39 years. She also had two years with other districts.

Spangler taught the third and fourth grade FOCUS class at Wilbur Wright Elementary. She retired with 43 years and received the 2019 Shapiro award for having the longest tenure among this class of retiring teachers.

All together, the retiring teachers had 330 years at New Castle Community School Corporation and 338 years total teaching.

The New Castle School Board meets again at 7 p.m. Monday, July 15 at 322 Elliott Ave.