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School board topics include ceiling tiles, portable classroom and building a new gymnasium

Board members discussed several building projects at their regular meeting on Monday night, as presented by Building Committee Chairman Mike Zimmer.

11/16/11 (Wed)


By Caroline Downs
Board members discussed several building projects at their regular meeting on Monday night, as presented by Building Committee Chairman Mike Zimmer.
Zimmer said the most pressing need was the replacement of ceiling tiles in the high school commons and teacher’s lounge area.
Board president Lars Christensen said his concern wasn’t that all the tiles needed to be removed immediately, but that the school was running out of replacement tiles. Because the tiles contain asbestos, the district’s maintenance staff is limited in the number of tiles they are allowed to replace each year.
“We’ve had this project in mind for a long time and we haven’t come up with a solution yet,” said committee member Lenny Rodin. “Meanwhile, some of the tiles continue to fall down, and we’re actually losing heat through the spaces that are left open.”
The estimated cost for the tile replacement project is $100,000 to $120,000. The district has $40,000 in the current Building Fund budget to spend, and business manager Renae Murphy reminded the board that the fund was already carrying a balance of $47,000. “In reality, this year you could have a balance of about $80,000 for the project,” she said.
The board approved a motion to request bids for the project, to be done during the summer of 2012 by a contractor certified in asbestos removal. Bids must be received by the school business office by January 13, 2012.
The Building Committee is considering the installation of a marquis sign to post school activities. Zimmer said initial cost estimates for the sign ranged from $20,000 to $40,000. “As a committee, we want to have some further discussion and come up with funding sources for that sign,” he said.
Another need the district may have to address next year is the addition of classroom space at the elementary school. “Right now we have six classrooms there and we anticipate needing seven next year,” said Zimmer. “We’re looking into the cost of adding a portable classroom.”
The portable classroom is expected to house the music classes, as well as special education and Title I classrooms.
Other projects reviewed by the Building Committee included furnace replacement at the high school, depending on available energy savings grants; repairs to the elementary school entry door; the removal of the old furnace and related ductwork at the elementary school; repairs to the floor of the commons area at the high school; and preliminary consideration of a new gymnasium built onto the north side of the high school building.
Rodin also mentioned the need to repair portions of the roof gutters at the high school where he had seen water leaking and running along the bricks, which could deteriorate that surface.
In Other Business:
*Board members approved a motion to add Building and Policy committee reports to the agenda.
*The board approved minutes of the October meeting and the district’s bills for payment, as presented. Payment for one bill from Kipp’s Plumbing & Heating, related to the high school renovation project, is still being held until the contractor’s work is completed.
*Murphy reported the district would start paying salaries for most employees by direct deposit on November 15th.
*Christensen announced the Platinum and Quarter Century awards Murphy received this month from the Association of School Business Managers. “As a board, we’d like to thank Renae for all her years of service and congratulate her for her work as a business manager,” he said.
*Jan Kostad, chair of the Negotiations and Finance Committee, reported the committee met to discuss benefits and compensation for the head cook’s position, following the resignation of the employee holding that position. A new head cook has been hired in a 10-month position, and a part-time cook’s position remains open in the district.
*Christensen reported as chair of the Policy Committee that the committee was continuing its work on the Library and Bullying policies required for the district. He presented the committee’s recommendations regarding changes to the Attendance Policy related to the definitions of “excused,” “unexcused,” “approved,” and “unapproved” absences, but the board requested further clarification before approving the revised policy.
Superintendent Mueller praised the Kenmare students and parents for generally following the required attendance expectations. “We don’t have any immediate issues with that,” he said.
*Board members approved revisions to the School Year Calendar Policy on first reading. The policy now defines a school term as the minimum number of days required by state law. Currently, a school term spans 182 instructional days.
*The board approved the revised Cheating, Early Entrance and Concussion Management policies on second reading.
*Christensen announced legal counsel had advised against discussion or action on a Christmas gift for district employees.
*High school principal Robert Thom reported the high school’s football gear had undergone review in light of safety requirements for high school teams. Given the condition of the helmets and the current specifications for student use, he said 29 of the district’s 68 helmets were usable. “I’m proposing we purchase 20 helmets,” he said, adding that 49 or 50 helmets should cover the need by the junior high and high school football programs.
At a cost of $130 apiece, the total expense would be $2600. The helmets are rated for 10 years of use, and then have to be replaced. “Helmets are one area where I think we have to make an investment,” Thom said. Board members agreed.
*Thom announced that 16 boys had reported for high school basketball practice and 10 boys for the KHS wrestling team. Seventeen 7th and 8th grade girls are playing basketball, and Thom saw no need to include 6th grade girls on the team this season.
*Superintendent Mueller reported he was reviewing options to purchase and install a PA system at the high school with speakers in the hallways and the gymnasium that would allow announcements to be heard during emergencies or alerts.
*Christensen thanked Barb Henderson and Leanne Heidel for their years of service to the Kenmare School District.
*Christensen offered board congratulations to the KHS volleyball team for qualifying for the state Class B tournament. Mueller and Thom announced that school would be dismissed at noon on Thursday, with no classes held on Friday, to allow students and teachers the opportunity to attend the state tournament in Fargo.
*The next regular meeting of the Kenmare School Board will be Tuesday, December 20th, at Kenmare High School beginning at 7 pm.