Noblesville Schools, National Guard agree to land swap

April 25, 2014
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The Indiana National Guard is bugging out of its Noblesville armory, part of a years-in-the-making plan to turn the property over to a growing neighbor: Noblesville Schools.

Noblesville’s school board this month agreed to pay $980,000 for a 52-acre parcel along 276th Street just east of U.S. 31. At closing, the district will hand that land over to the Guard in exchange for the 10-acre armory property between Noblesville High School and what’s now its Freshman Campus.

With the addition of the armory at 2021 Field Drive, the school district will own all the property between Cumberland Road and 16th Street south of Field Drive. Officials are working on a master design for the campus, said Superintendent Libbie Conner.

“Logistically, we’ve always hoped to have that someday,” she said, raising the possibility of using the land for athletic fields or parking.

In the short term, the 13,900-square-foot building will house the Mosaic School, a cooperative program serving children with special needs from Hamilton, Boone and Madison counties.

And the medical unit now assigned to the Noblesville armory—the 113th Brigade Support Battalion’s Charlie Company—is moving to Anderson while the Guard works to line up funding for a larger operation in northern Hamilton County.

“We don’t plan to build right away,” Public Affairs Officer Lt. Col. Cathy Van Bree said, citing the red tape involved with funding such projects. Still, she said the Guard wants to maintain a presence in the area.

Conner said the school district has been setting aside money in its capital projects fund for years to pay for the acquisition. That deal will not affect more than $40 million of improvements in the works now, she said.

Last year, Noblesville voters approved a referendum that helped fund more than $40 million in construction projects, including an expansion of the high school and related transformation of its stand-alone Freshman Campus into East Middle School. The middle school is moving from 17th Street to make way for an Ivy Tech Community College regional campus, expected to begin offering classes this fall.

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