To save cash School Board eyeing office space at County Complex

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — The Indian River County School Board is considering a possible move to the County Administration Complex in an attempt to cut costs. Both the school board and the Board of County Commissioners discussed the possibility at a joint meeting Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s not cost neutral for the county,” School Board Chairwoman Karen Disney-Brombach said of keeping the empty space on the second floor of Administration Building B for the commissioners.

The county has approximately 25,000 square feet of vacant space in Building B that is climate controlled. Disney-Brombach said she thinks the School Board offices could be accommodated in that space.

“The space design does not meet our needs,” she said of the current School Board administration building — the former Vero Beach hospital.

Disney-Brombach said the school district uses 32,000 square feet in their current building, which is not configured in a way that is efficient with “twisty” and “winding” corridors.

Commission Chairman Peter O’Bryan said the relocation of the School Board to the county complex could be an interim solution for the education officials. He said both parties would hold workshops to discuss the options and determine if they would consider entering into a lease with the School Board.

If both sides are interested, O’Bryan said, then staff would be directed to figure out the costs to build out the second floor, relocate the School Board and other expenses to “make sure it makes dollars and sense.”

The joint meeting between the two boards came at Disney-Brombach’s request, something she implemented two years ago when she was the School Board’s chair.

She explained the purpose of the meeting was simply to open the lines of communication between the two boards and establishing working relationships between the members.Along with discussing the School Board’s possible move to the County Administration Complex, the boards talked about ways to promote the vocational programs the School District offers.

O’Bryan said they are considering asking students at both Vero Beach and Sebastian River high schools put together short films on the career tech programs that could then be aired on the government access channels.

The issue of school concurrency was also brought up, O’Bryan said, particularly regarding the approval of the Villages of Fellsmere — a massive residential and commercial development that is expected to take root in the coming years.

O’Bryan said the county’s staff would assist the School District to make sure enough schools will be in place to handle the future development.

In the interest of keeping the dialogue going between the two boards, Disney-Brombach and O’Bryan both said they would support having more meetings.

The School Board is planning to meet with the city councils of Vero Beach, Sebastian and Fellsmere later this year to encourage communication between the various government bodies as well.

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