Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) officials unveiled today how the district will invest $27.6 million into George Washington Carver School 87 as part the Rebuilding Stronger plan.
William Murphy, the district’s chief operations officer, and George Washington Carver 87 Principal Mary Kapcoe joined IPS officials and members of the media on a tour of the facility to learn about the upcoming changes.
Murphy said the district’s investment in George Washington Carver 87 through Rebuilding Stronger is an example of how the district is working with its many educational partners throughout the city.
“The investments we are making are long overdue and will significantly transform this building into one of the best elementary schools in our community,” Murphy said. “These investments through Rebuilding Stronger will change the fundamentals so every IPS student has an experience defined by excellent choices. Every elementary school will have art, music, physical education and computer science classes.”
Kapcoe told the gathering that the addition of a new wing for classrooms with new music and art rooms will create a learning-centered school to help youngsters start their academic careers.
“Research has shown us that music and art have similar benefits — increased motor skills, decision-making, inventiveness, and improved academic performance,” Kapcoe said. “And, music is also closely related to a child’s ability to excel in science and math. Our staff believes that in the coming years, our students will significantly improve their literacy rates as we continue to upgrade our facilities. I can’t wait to get started.”
The Montessori-based school is one of several IPS K-8 schools that will shift to pre-K to 5 under Rebuilding Stronger as the district opens several new middle schools for students in grades 6-8.
Completion is scheduled for 2025. The school will continue operating while under renovations.
During the tour of the school, Murphy noted the facility upgrades will include:
- Creating an accessible and secure front entry with expanded academic space and parking (17,400 square feet).
- A new secure entry and administration area.
- Four new general classrooms.
- A new art room.
- A new music room.
- Expanding parking to 62 spaces.
- Reallocating playground and hard-surface play areas.
- A new bus drop-off.
The school also will see a comprehensive set of upgrades to address building deficiencies, including the roof, windows, exterior doors, floors, ceilings, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, lighting, elevators and paved surfaces.
There also will be steps taken to increase security through card access and cameras.
Murphy said the district also will provide additional support with investments from the 2018 referendum, including upgrading the school’s VoIP phone system and Intercom system.
George Washington Carver 87 is one of 20-plus schools scheduled to receive facility upgrades and renovations through the district’s 2023 Capital Referendum.
A facilities study of IPS buildings indicates that more than 30 percent of its schools are rated in “poor” condition.
Murphy noted the 2023 Capital Referendum, which voters in the district will consider on May 2, will allow IPS to bring all its elementary and middle school buildings from “poor” to “good” status over the next eight years (“good” meaning they are only in need of routine maintenance).
The district’s 2023 Capital Referendum is a $410 million ask of residents living in the IPS boundary. For the median homeowner, that’s a $3 per month tax increase on their current property-tax bill.
The referendum is also on absentee and early voting ballots.