These IPS schools could soon get overdue upgrades to classrooms, gyms, and air conditioning

A picture of a school hallway, with classroom doors on either side of the hall.
Sidener Academy for High Ability Students is one of over two dozen schools that could soon get upgrades as Indianapolis Public Schools addresses some of its deferred maintenance needs. (Amelia Pak-Harvey / Chalkbeat)

Indianapolis Public Schools plans to use up to $95 million to upgrade athletic facilities, air conditioning units, special education classrooms, and address other facility needs at over two dozen schools. 

The projects, which IPS officials unveiled Tuesday night, are part of more than $1 billion in deferred maintenance needs that the district identified in a 2020 facilities review. The majority of the projects would be completed by fall of 2024 or spring of 2025, IPS Chief Operations Officer Bill Murphy said. A bond repaid over 19 years would fund the improvements, which would not require IPS to seek new tax revenue.

The projects still need various approvals from the school board, which could approve them in November after completing public hearings required by state law. 

Major high school investments would include: 

  • Shortridge High School: Improvements to the school theater, exterior windows, main gym mezzanine, fire alarms, field and press box seats, and the artificial turf football field.
  • George Washington High School: Improvements to the theater room, track, artificial football turf, visitor’s stand and sidewalk, and a new sound system. The school will also receive repairs to its foundation and windows and fire alarm upgrades. 
  • Arsenal Tech High School: Upgrading the walls in the east gym and Lone Hall and fire alarm upgrades.
  • Crispus Attucks High School: Improvements to exterior walls and foundation, fire alarm upgrades, new visitor and home bleachers, new press box, and the replacement of the west gym floor. 

Other school upgrades target plumbing, water heaters, elevators

Arlington Middle School, Emmerich Manual High School (which houses a Christel House charter school campus), and Northwest Middle School will also receive improvements to school theaters. 

Meredith Nicholson School 70 would also receive roofing and wall improvements, as well as fire alarm upgrades, a new water heater, and upgrades to plumbing fixtures and exterior windows. 

The former Francis W. Parker Montessori School 56 building, which closed this year, would also receive improvements to its foundation as part of a historic preservation project. The district is exploring how to renovate and repurpose the building

William Penn School 49 and James Russell Lowell School 51 would receive new water heaters. 

The following schools would also receive fire alarm upgrades:

  • Anna Brochhausen School 88.
  • Merle Sidener Academy for High Ability Students.
  • School 49.
  • Arlington Woods School 99, which houses the Sankofa School of Success in the IPS Innovation Network.
  • Theodore Potter School 74.
  • Clarence Farrington School 61.
  • George H. Fisher School 93.
  • School 51.

The following schools would also receive elevator replacements or repairs:

  • George Washington High School.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson School 58.
  • KIPP Indy College Prep Middle School, an IPS Innovation Network school.
  • Shortridge High School.
  • Phalen Leadership Academy at Louis B. Russell School 48.
  • Arsenal Tech.
  • Center for Inquiry School 84.
  • The PATH School at Stephen Foster School 67, an IPS Innovation Network school.
  • Robert Lee Frost School 106.
  • James Whitcomb Riley School 43.
  • Crispus Attucks High School.
  • Edison School of the Arts.
  • Christel House schools at Emmerich Manual High School, an IPS Innovation Network school.
  • Cold Spring School.
  • Phalen Leadership Academy at Francis Scott Key School 103, an IPS Innovation Network school.
  • Center for Inquiry School 27.

Amelia Pak-Harvey covers Indianapolis and Marion County schools for Chalkbeat Indiana. Contact Amelia at apak-harvey@chalkbeat.org.

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