The Lafayette School Corporation on Wednesday announced plans to turn the former Lafayette Life Insurance building into a career academy for high school students.
Superintendent Les Huddle says next week the school board is slated to vote on a $2 million contract to buy the 94-thousand square foot building that has been vacant since the insurance company headquarters moved to Cincinnati, Ohio in 2011.
Huddle says he’s been talking with local employers and area school superintendents to create a facility where high school students can explore careers ranging from math and science, to culinary arts to advanced manufacturing.
He says formal negotiations will begin after LSC buys the property.
“We are ready to begin designing and putting down on paper what programs might go in here, what should we keep at our own schools and how can we combine resources,” Huddle says.
Huddle and Tippecanoe School Superintendent Scott Hanback say having one central facility can enhance the programs at high schools scattered around Tippecanoe County.
“Benefit those students and also work well in favor of Tippecanoe County’s well-documented need for a future workforce and a trained and skilled workforce,” Hanback says.
Huddle says, initially, the Lafayette Life building will temporarily house some classes during renovations at Jefferson High School during the fall semester of 2017.
Renovations of the Lafayette Life building will be shaped by curriculum recommendations developed by local school and business leaders.
The career academy is scheduled to open by the 2020 fall semester.
Huddle says the school corporation property tax rate will remain the same because the purchase price of the building and the cost of the renovations will be offset by other school debt that is expiring.
The public can comment on LSC’s plans at a meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. November 16 at the Jeff High School auditorium.