West Liberty-Salem Local Schools’ building project is progressing, and the school board needs to nail down alternatives it may include in this summer’s construction work.
A large part of the work in the core areas of the building will begin after school lets out in May. There are expected to be contingency funds available for items not necessary, but desired.
Superintendent Kraig Hissong noted these items at the board’s April 5 work session. Priority work this summer includes new gym floors in both gyms, maintaining staff parking and moving and potentially adding visitor parking, new scoreboards in both gyms and putting in a bus gravel parking lot area with overnight heaters for the buses. All of these items are estimated to cost $184,245, Hissong said.
Hissong added some of these he could bid out to local contractors to see if prices come in better than originally quoted. There is a possibility of getting sponsorships with local organizations for the scoreboards to reduce that cost.
Another project that Hissong does not have an estimate on is running sewer and electric lines to the new bus gravel parking area, to make it easier to eventually put an office there for bus drivers and transportation staff. He said it would be a good idea to do that if they could this summer, before the parking lots are paved. Putting that in before the asphalt would save money and not require repaving.
In January 2017, Hissong said, the board could look at remaining alternates if there is contingency money left. Those alternates include a half-lot of student parking, an electric sign in front of the school, and replacing the rest of the furniture that had not been replaced in the elementary wing of the school. All those alternates are estimated to cost approximately $165,000.
Other alternates available that the district could do after these, but are not a high priority, include changing gym lighting to LED lights, adding theater lighting, and replacing interior doors not replaced as part of the project.
The board will need to vote to approve the alternates, and it may do so at its next meeting.
Hissong recommended to the board staffing changes that may come up for a vote at the next board meeting. He is recommending starting Literacy Collaborative, a nationwide literacy model taught at Ohio State University and Lesley University in Massachusetts. He will recommend two teachers become half-time Literacy Collaborative coaches and teach half time. To fill in for the remaining teaching time, Hissong recommends hiring a full-time teacher or two half-time job shares.
“Literacy Collaborative I think is the thing that will hopefully help us get to the next level as far as achievement for our kids,” he said. “Not only achievement, but also value added and growth. We will have a better prepared student going into middle school and high school.”
Hissong will recommend hiring a full-time secretary who handles attendance, student registration, enrollment and more. The district lost 2.5 full-time secretaries through budget cuts previously, he said. The financial situation of the district has stabilized, he said, and the current secretary cannot do all the work.
Hissong will recommend having a full-time high school choir position for one staff member who is half-time, to replace the full-time middle school/high school choir instructor who wants to go to half-time.
The next board meeting is April 19.
Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.