At its regular monthly meeting March 11, the School Board held discussion around options for the current elementary building, should the April 2 referendum be successful. (Scroll past the video for more article text.)

Board member Tony Dahl reminded everyone that, if the referendum is successful, the district would still be using the current elementary building for two more years while the new one is under construction. Therefore, he felt the district didn’t need to rush to make a decision as to what to do with the property.

Superintendent Mitch Wainwright gave his opinion that the district should sell the building and the lower parking lot while keeping the oak savanna, baseball field, upper parking lot, and playground equipment. He also added that, currently, no one has reached out to him stating they would be interested in purchasing it.

Board member Andy Busch stated he would like to check into the feasibility of moving the Options in Education School there. The district currently pays rent for the Options School, and enrollment has been growing. It would also provide additional storage for the district.

Board Clerk Everett Lindsey commented on the success Darlington had with turning its old school into a community center. He also suggested a new location for the fire department, or perhaps elderly housing, could be an option.

Board Vice President Nate Chambers mentioned a daycare, not run by the district.

Board Treasurer Larry Steffes said that some districts do run day care centers. “There are great things that could happen with that building,” he added. “We have time.”

(Go to the one hour, four minute mark)

Other business:

— The meeting began with recognitions of State Wrestling, State Gymnastics, and State Girls Basketball 3-Point Shooting competitors.

— The Board heard a referendum update from Tim Ruppert of HSR, the architects working on the elementary project.

Ruppert provided a cost comparison between the current proposed referendum and the November referendum. That information has been loaded to the 2019 Referendum website and is available here:

Ruppert said he believes HSR is being more cautious regarding the foundation restoration than the previous architect was. In their cost estimate, HSR is isolating the foundation at the current elementary “as a separate component so we can track it.” He added, “We still think we can achieve all the scope that was promised. What might get backed out would be the amount of renovation, but we don’t believe we would have to reduce the scope of the project.” The amount of renovation would only be reduced if the foundation issue would be worse than thought.

(Go to the 24 minute mark)

— The Board listened to an informational presentation on the benefits and desire to introduce a therapy dog at the elementary from Carla Rand, School Counselor, and Denise Gorgen, 2nd Grade Teacher.

This item will be brought back in April as the district would need to develop policy around such an addition. (Go to the 42 minute mark)

— The Board 5-2 in favor of sending the FEH bill to a subcommittee to try and negotiate the cost. Voting against were Busch and Dunn. (Go to the one hour, 15 minute mark)

— The Board approved unanimously approved the MP MS/HS Discipline Policies and Procedures as presented. (Go to the one hour, 32 minute, 45 second mark)

— The Board unanimously approved the Architectural Contract with HSR as presented, which includes a 6.7% fee for HSR on an elementary addition/remodel project, and a 5.3% fee on a new elementary building project. (Go to the one hour, 35 minute mark)

— The Board approved 6-0-1 with Basting abstaining the credit card statement and bills payable. (Go to the two hour, one minute, 30 second mark)

— The next regularly scheduled Board meeting is set for Monday, April 8 at 6:30 pm.