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Parents express concern about Greater Clark County Schools second attempt to relocate Parkview Middle

The district said a new location would be better for students, and be centered around a growing population. The current facility was built in 1961.

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. — Greater Clark County Schools (GCCS) is trying for a second time to relocate the aging Parkview Middle School, away from its current building just east of downtown Jeffersonville.

The district wants to move the school five miles northeast, where it believes the population center of the city is moving.

Parkview Middle was built in 1961, and generations of students have memories there, but some long-tenured teachers feel it has run its course.

"We've outgrown technology. I have two outlets in the back and two in the front. I have students that want to charge their Chromebooks and it's not enough," Samantha Pierce said.

Pierce has taught at Parkview Middle for 26 years and is also the vice president of the local teachers union, the Greater Clark Education Association.

"They've tried working on our ventilation. They've tried upgrading the electrical issues, they've worked on plumbing. In the end, I think we keep putting Band-Aids," Pierce said. "It just came up that we need a new building."

The district said a new, modernized building will allow for updated classrooms, space for a parent pickup line and it will align with population growth.

The proposed site is the now-closed Twilight Golf Course off of Highway 62 in the Watson township. On Tuesday night, school board members voted to give the green light for the superintendent to negotiate a purchase of the property.

That site borders up against a different site just to the south, where GCCS unsuccessfully tried to relocate the school on July 18.

A majority of Jeffersonville City Council denied a rezoning request of the 26-acre lot at the corner of Utica-Sellersburg Road and New Chapel Road, more than twice the size of Parkview's current 12-acre space. Councilmembers felt a school is inconsistent with the city's comprehensive plan, with roads being too narrow.

Councilman Steve Webb said he would prefer to see single-family homes go in the space. Property owner Brian Lenfert said he's now moving forward with a plan to put a subdivision in the southern lot.

Plans like that are why GCCS wants to move the school there. A demographic study it commissioned in 2020 found the area around current Parkview Middle had "plateaued" and "may decline", while the area around Twilight Golf Course was expanding.

"Where we are now being landlocked, it creates that need to move elsewhere," Pierce said.

The district will have to hope that the council feels differently about the adjacent lot. 

Meanwhile, one Parkview Middle parent told WHAS11 off camera that the building is special to her, where many of her family members have attended. She also said the added traffic, and driving 15 minutes farther to the new site would be troublesome.

At least five people in the City Council's July meeting cited the same concerns during public comment, also questioning whether property taxes would go up -- and by how much.

While Pierce said families' worries are valid, she believed the move would make for a better learning experience.

"I understand the sentiment, having been here for 26 years. I feel like I'm part of the building as well, but I think for the success of our students, we can make memories in a new building -- and make even stronger students," she said.

WHAS11 reached out to both GCCS leaders and city councilmembers. Both declined to comment as of Wednesday evening.

On Wednesday, Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore said it will likely take a few weeks for the new lot proposal to make its way through the planning commission and back to council.

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