School fixup project on course

BLUE EARTH – The construction project at Blue Earth elementary and middle school “is going well,” according to Ryan Hoffman of ICS Consulting.

The report is “so positive,” Superintendent Evan Gough told the school board Monday.

School staff were back in their classrooms Monday, said Melissa McGuire, K-8 principal, and working around construction.

“There are some things to finish up,” Hoffman said. “It’s definitely to the point where the systems are in and operating.”

Hoffman told the board there will be money left over, noting about $34,000 in contingency funds. This is because the district pulled things out before the project began, Gough said. When construction progressed well, the district was able to add some things back in, such as dropped ceilings and an air handler for one of the classrooms.

“We did a lot of ceilings and lights we hadn’t planned on,” Hoffman said.

He explained how some rooms can be sectioned off. Board chairman Frankie Bly liked having that ability under certain conditions, like when a room is warm to begin with and the kids come in from physical activity.

“When I see you can’t open any windows, the system better work,” Bly said.

Turning to another topic, the board learned a back-to-school night is planned for Aug. 28, said Rich Schneider, high school principal. Schedules will be available for students on that night.

Schneider plans to make a decision soon on whether the high school campus will have an open lunch. The reason he is considering closing it is because of the construction at the intersection by the school.

“It’s a safety reason,” he said.

Board member Jesse Haugh said he would be in favor of closing the campus.

“To avoid accidents, all the more reason to close,” Bly added.

In action items, the board approved:

o Bids for the bakery to Bimbo Bakeries (formerly Sara Lee); dairy, Sampson Dairy Foods; waste removal, Waste Management; snow removal, Ron’s Trenching and Weerts Construction; softener salt, Garlick’s Water Care; fuel oil, More’s Ag; gas and diesel: diesel, Kwik Trip and gas, WFS in Blue Earth; and diesel and gas, Urban Oil in Winnebago. Haugh abstained from voting.

o Contracts for Ann Crofton, school nurse; Elizabeth Stallman, middle school English; Sharon Van Kley, youth development coordinator; Dexter Prechel, bus mechanic; David Sparks, technology coordinator; Brandon Ankeny, computer technician; Alan Cue, assistant K-8 principal; Al Gieser, buildings and grounds supervisor; Dan Brod, transportation coordinator; Alan Wilhelmi, fiscal services coordinator; Dar Holmseth, Community Ed director; Rob Norman, activities director; and Marnie Norman, speech language pathologist.

o Retirement of Glenda Hoffman, Title I teacher and paraprofessional.

o Reassignment of Betty Goraczkowski from paraprofessional to custodian.

o Medical leave for Matthew Ulrich, custodian.