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Board moves forward with athletic complex, new playground equipment

By James Grob,

Building and rebuilding for recreational purposes were the hot topics Monday for the Charles City Community School District Board of Education.

The school board unanimously approved a professional services contract with Skott & Anderson Architects to be the lead designer for the new athletic complex, then later unanimously approved project bids by Boland Recreation for installing new playground equipment at Washington Elementary.

“It’s just kind of a nice thing, that local people who we are comfortable with ended up being the most reasonable,” Charles City Superintendent Mike Fisher said of Skott & Anderson, which is based in Mason City and works primarily in north central and northeast Iowa.

“Gary Anderson was actually a little cheaper, and we are comfortable with him,” Fisher said. “He’s very aware of the soil composition, because he did the transportation center.”

The architectural and engineering services agreement with Skott & Anderson will cost the district $25,000 for survey and premium design, $95,000 for final design and additional construction administration costs as needed, not to exceed $30,000.

In March, the board approved the building of a grade 5-12 athletic complex that includes a softball and baseball diamond and would sit on the high school/middle school campus. The site is located on land adjacent to the high school and middle school, along Comet Drive.

The total cost of the development is expected to be about $1.8 million, with the intention of breaking ground on the project this summer and having the complex completed and ready for use by the summer of 2020. The board designated half of the project’s cost to come from district funds.

As to the playground equipment, the board unanimously approved bids to Boland Recreation for $188,729 for equipment for grades 1-2 and $56,271 for grades PK-K at the Washington school.

Both of the playground projects will be funded by Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) funds. The combined budget for both projects is $250,000, with the remainder of funds to be used for new fencing and cement, which will be bid separately.

Washington Elementary Principal Kara Shannon said that all the new equipment is safe and handicapped accessible.

“We do have some really cool equipment. We have a slide called the ‘avalanche’ slide. They can go down one side and still pull themselves up, using their arm strength,” Shannon told the board.

“We’ve put everything at ground level, and whole surface uses rubber matting, so it can be accessed by wheelchairs and strollers for families.”

The PK-K playground is on the south side of the elementary building while the grades 1-2 equipment is behind the building. The projects are set for completion during the summer of 2019. The playground equipment and rubber surface were bid out. The district maintenance staff will demolish existing equipment.

“It’s really super-safe — there aren’t these large structures and tall structures that they can fall off of. It’s accessible for toddlers up through 10-year-olds,” Shannon said.

Also on Monday, the board set a public hearing for Tuesday, May 28, at Charles City Middle School regarding the conveyance of three right-of-way parcels to set forth in the acquisition plat at the North Grand Building. The City of Charles City has requested that the school district move forward with the conveyance, so the city can vote on whether to approve the deed.

The board also approved 15 new appointments at Monday’s meeting. Those included the appointments of six summer school teachers, all officially starting June 10. They are Carrie Eiklenborg at $45.85 per day, Callie Johnson at $24.04 per day, Kim Nichel at $32.50 per day, Clarissa Matthews at $33.61 per day, Jeremy Wilson at $55.52 per day and Judy Kobliska at $45.85 per day.

Other appointments, effective Aug. 12, included Victoria Brandon, 5-8 special education, at a salary of $38,729; Justin Jacobs, 5-12 special education, at a salary of $53,842; Hailey Brown, 9-10 counselor, at a salary of $46,603; Megan Neuendorf, 8th-grade math, at a salary of $42,622; Taylor Elliott, 3rd-grade, at a salary of $49,499; Bethany Jurrens, 4th-grade, at a salary of $53,842; and Jill Jacobs, high school language arts, at a salary of $54,566.

Fisher distributed certificates of appreciation to board members Robin Macomber, Jason Walker, Scott Dight, Missy Freund and Josh Mack, and also to student board member Isaiah Tilton, in recognition of Iowa School Board Recognition Month in May.

May is also Teacher Appreciation Month, and the board issued a proclamation to recognize the district’s teachers and encourage the community to join in expressing appreciation for their dedication and devotion to their work.

At the conclusion of the public meeting, the board adjourned into closed session to discuss the midpoint evaluation Fisher.

Also on Monday, the board:

— Directed the superintendent to utilize legal counsel to negotiate an agreement with TLC to utilize space in the North Grand Building.

— Heard a presentation from Washington Principal Kara Shannon and teacher leader coach Marie Conklin regrading trauma-informed instruction.

— Approved the cooperative sharing agreement with the Mason City Community School District for boys and girls swimming for the 2019-20 school year.

— Approved the memorandum of understanding with Luther College regarding student teacher placement and the clinical field experience program.

— Approved the licensed employee transfer of Erik Hoefer, from third grade teacher to eighth grade language arts teacher for next year.

— Approved the appointment Robert Pittman as middle school track coach, at a salary of $2165, starting May 13.

— Approved the resignations of Noah Robbins, seventh grade football coach, effective May 13 and Kiesha Trettin, TAP program coordinator, effective June 30.

— Modified the contracts of Jodie Johnson, adding 25 days for the 2018-19 and the 2019-20 school year, and adding $4,405 salary to the 2018-19 contract and $4,635 salary to the 2019-20 contract.