Bids for the new addition and renovation of Lakeview Elementary will be opened in June after the Centerville School Board approved final plans for the project Monday.
Board members had an extended conversation about the proposed addition, which would lead to the closure of Central Elementary School during the public forum section of their regular meeting after local resident Jan McDanolds raised concerns about how much money the board had been spending on improvements and construction around the district.
“I understand that you are trying to update Centerville but you are doing it all at one time and it is a significant cost to the taxpayers,” said McDanolds.
“It’s not any additional cost though,” said board member Larry Heffron. “We’re still at $18.73 which is exactly what we promised you we were going to do last year.”
Several board members disagreed with McDanolds in another point, saying that the consolidation of buildings ultimately saves the district money.
“When you’re talking about the increased costs in doing this stuff we’re saving money as well,” said board member Bob Thomas. “… You can’t just talk about what our increased spending is. You’ve got to talk a little bit about what we’re saving by doing some of these things.”
McDanolds also asked about the bussing and parking situation that would be created at Lakeview with the additional students. The district is constructing a new parking lot after purchasing a property on Cottage Street that will add around 100 new parking spots at Lakeview. The new construction will cause the building to lose about 12-18 spots in one of the current parking lots.
Board member Mike Thomas also brought up some concerns he had with the current plan as presented.
“In the end what are we going to have?” asked board member Mike Thomas. “… You’re not going to have one extra classroom anywhere.”
Thomas said beyond the space issue, he was also worried about how the daily schedule of students would be impacted by having so many students in one building. Board president Marty Braster said he believed it was the staff’s job to plan the schedule and he trusted them to provide an adequate plan for the building.
In the end the board voted unanimously to approve the current plans and send them out for bids. According to RDG, there will be a pre-bid meeting at the school on May 24 and bids will be opened at 2 p.m. on June 7 at the Administration building. RDG said it is hoping that the project receives four to six bids. They said costs could be impacted by recent tariffs on steel that have been put in place at the federal level and hurricanes and wildfire that have hit different parts of the country in the last year.
Bids for new lockers and painting in the Lakeview locker rooms were also approved. The approved locker bid from Iowa Direct Equipment is for $23,650. The approved painting bid from Lewellen Mowing and Painting is for $18,000. The locker rooms will also be getting new flooring and will be changing the lighting to LED lights. Buildings and Grounds Director Tim Kaster said the school would be getting a $1,400 rebate for the lighting change.
The Centerville Athletic Booster Club will be giving $10,000 towards the locker room renovation project, according to board member Angela Ocker, who also is the booster club's treasurer. Ocker said the money was part of the money raised from running showers for RAGBRAI riders in the summer of 2016.
High school principal Jeremy Hissem shared with board members his plan to share a Spanish instructor with Indian Hills Community College next year. One of Centerville’s Spanish instructors is leaving the district and Hissem proposed partnering with IHCC so that students could earn college Spanish credit.
The cost would be $4,500 per term for three terms a year for the district. The high school instructor would still offer Spanish classes as well. The IHCC taught classes could save students up to $3,000 since they would not have to take Spanish classes in college.
In other business:
• The board approved issuing contracts to staff after negotiations were completed. Overall, staff will receive a 2.9 percent increase which includes a $300 increase to base pay and another $30 per month toward the cost of insurance. The administration still has to meet with the transportation union and the aides and secretaries union.
• A budget amendment was approved by the board for fiscal year 2018. The board made the amendment due to renovation projects such as the Simon Estes Auditorium renovation.
• A three-year contract with Forecast5 was approved. The organization provides ongoing financial planning for the board and a future plan so the board can see how their financial decisions affect the district’s finances for several years. The total cost of the three-year contract is $39,000.
• The board approved a new Policy 701.5 Disaster Recovery Plan outlining how the district backs up its data in case a recovery is needed.
• All transfers, employment contracts, volunteer agreements and sports officials contracts were approved and Diane Mueller remaining with the district for another year after her early retirement was previously approved was also OK'd.
• The list of graduating seniors for CHS and ACC were approved by the board members, contingent on the students completing all requirements.
Krystal Fowler can be reached at email@example.com or by calling the newsroom at 641-856-6336. Follow her on Twitter @KFowler_Daily.