The School Board held its regular monthly meeting Monday night and learned the latest from architect HSR and engineer raSmith regarding the foundation investigation at the elementary building. (Scroll past the video for more article text — this discussion begins the video)

Tim Ruppert of HSR and Wayne Vandenbergh of raSmith gave the presentation to the Board.

Ruppert stated all information from the testing has been received regarding the differential foundation and floor movement.

“We’re being very strategic on where we make improvements in order to get the best value,” he stated, addressing additional building movement in the last week saying “making sure we’re making the right improvements as we look long term.”

Vandenbergh stated water has been pooling against the building, with some of it likely making its way under the building.

To help find out what was going on underneath and around the building, soil borings were taken. “We did more borings with this facility than we normally would,” he added citing 16 exterior and 10 interior to a depth of six feet.

He added clay is the concern with the soil and how it expands, especially when wet. The borings indicated a great deal of clay within the foundation of the 1960s portion of the building. It is believed the early 1990s addition took measures to remove the clay.

Ruppert and Vandenbergh are suggesting a two prong approach to address the foundation issue — remove the water influx and remove the clay. “This is what we were anticipating with the budget,” said Ruppert.

Board treasurer Larry Steffes expressed great concern with the recent movement detected last week and asked Board members and the architect and engineer if they had visited the building to take a look, or if they would like to have a recess of the Board meeting to go and view. A tour was not desired by those present, with many having already done so on their own time.

Vandenbergh said the movement detected last week is not new movement, but an expansion of previous movement. He and Ruppert both stated that all buildings move over time, and movement is not unusual, especially with older buildings.

The walls associated with the most recent movement are non-load bearing, according to Vandenbergh.

Board member Tony Dahl suggested the Board may want to look into sending an inspector from the Department of Public Instruction to inspect the building to make sure it’s safe to occupy. Steffes agreed.

There was some concern from other Board members as to what type of inspector would be sent by the state. Would they be an engineer? Would they have experience with older buildings? How much knowledge would they possess about the Mineral Point Elementary building?

Superintendent Mitch Wainwright stated the district already has an engineer’s opinion, and both Ruppert and Vandenbergh stated they would be comfortable writing a letter stating they believe the building is safe.

A straw vote was taken on whether or not to ask for a state inspection with Dahl and Steffes voting yes and Aaron Dunn, Andy Busch, Nate Chambers, Everett Lindsey, and Jeff Basting voting no.

A copy of HSR’s presentation Monday night is available here with more details on the above topics:

Additionally, some discussion was had about how to proceed with the foundation renovation. Ruppert stated there are two approaches:

  1. The addition could be built first. Some students could be moved into the new addition temporarily while foundation work is happening.
  2. The foundation could be fixed first. This way, the district would know the exact cost of fixing the foundation before proceeding with the rest of the renovation. However, this would displace students for awhile to another location, perhaps mobile classrooms.

The Board will need to decide in the near future which path it wishes to choose.

Other business:

— The law requires each school (the principal or a designee) to report the data annually, by Sept. 1, to the school board a report on the number of incidents of seclusion and physical restraint in the previous year; the total number of students involved in the incidents; and the total number of students with disabilities involved in the incidents. The act requires the information be broken down by the school. This report was approved unanimously. (Go to the one hour, 16 minute mark)

— The Board sent the matter of purchasing property adjacent to the elementary school for playground expansion to closed session. It was then tabled. (Go to the one hour, 17 minute mark)

— The Board unanimously approved SmartBoard replacements (about ⅓ of the district’s total number) at a cost of $46,604.53 and 150 Chromebook replacements at a cost of $38,584.50. (Go to the one hour, 17 minute, 30 second mark)

— The Board began discussion of the establishment of its goals for the 2019-20 school year and unanimously agreed to table the discussion to a special retreat of the board to be announced in the near future. (Go to the one hour, 35 minute mark)

— The Board unanimously approved the hiring of Gina Reichling as an Elementary Instructional Assistant and the resignation (6-0-1 vote with Busch abstaining) of Diane Reichling as Assistant District Bookkeeper. (Go to the one hour, 48 minute mark)

— The Board approved the credit card statement and bills payable by a 6-0-1 vote (with Basting abstaining). (Go to the one hour, 51 minute, 30 second mark)

— The next regular meeting of the Board is set for Monday, September 9 at 6:30 pm.