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Board members worry about work

September 25, 2012
Jodelle Greiner - Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

BLUE EARTH - How much construction will disrupt students was a concern on the minds of Blue Earth Area school board members Monday.

The board discussed plans presented by Ryan Hoffman of ICS Consulting on how the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system in the K-8 building could be revamped during the winter.

There's a financial benefit to doing the construction in the winter, Hoffman said. Crews are usually looking for work, so contractors may be willing to offer a deal.

Hoffman said construction would start after the first of the year. Some of the work would involve more than one floor.

Only two classroom areas should be affected, Hoffman said. The rest of the upgrade would involve administrative, commons or roof. There should be areas for students to relocate while their classrooms are under construction.

The board was concerned about moving the computer lab, asking if construction could take place over Christmas break.

Hoffman promised the bids would be based on specific work areas and definitive timelines.

"We'll tell them what five weeks where," he said.

The district office could be moved to the high school during construction, said Superintendent Evan Gough, adding that the middle school office and the elementary office could wind up being permanently moved closer to the district office.

"We're playing fruit basket upset," said board member Vickie Hanson. "It's the time to look at reconfiguring things."

Hoffman said some construction might take place from 3-11 p.m. He wanted to check with the contractors if that would include overtime.

Getting the construction done or at least staying out of certain areas when testing is taking place is important, Gough noted.

"We'll be prepared at our October board meeting to start the bidding process," he said.

On another topic, Gough presented a goal to relocate the middle school and elementary offices to the area now occupied by Continuing Education so that all the offices will be centrally located, instead of spread around the large building site.

"With the HVAC project going on, it makes sense to do these things," he said.

Gough and Melissa McGuire, K-8 principal, want to have an architect offer some options at a facilities committee meeting.

Gough also plans to move the eighth-graders to the high school.

"I see definite advantages achievement-wise," he said. "It's a good opportunity to talk about a lot of things."

Gough also wants to try an automated substitute teacher placement system.

McGuire said she had just spent a half-hour making 15 phone calls to get a sub for today, and some of the teachers already had subbing jobs.

An automated system would go down the list of subs until the person being called accepts the placement, Gough said. Subs also could enter information, such as when they will be on vacation or subbing elsewhere.



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