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Playground equipment to be moved Monday in Hancock

If the weather cooperates, the Hancock school construction project could begin as soon as next week. At their April meeting on Monday, the Hancock school board learned more about the timeline for the construction project. Progress will depend on some cooperation from the weather, which thus far, has not been in favor of any early spring work.

The first items on the time line will be a pre-roofing bid meeting this week followed by the opening of the roofing bids on April 25. It is hoped that these bids will come in under estimates as other bids have come in slightly over expectations putting the project slightly over budget so far.

On April 22 the plans are to move the current playground equipment across the street to the school property toward the east. The board members discussed the location of the equipment and decided on the area north of the old bus garage. A long-jump pad currently in this area will be relocated to the southeast side of the building on a more level part of the grounds. During this time, the utility company will also be moving power poles with transformers.

Shortly after the playground equipment is moved, the earthwork will begin. The entire area east of the school building will be used for equipment, trucks, and construction work. The road east of the building will be blocked off as soon as needed.

Also on April 22, Wells Concrete will begin production of the poured concrete walls. On May 13 the walls on the new building will start going up. This will take approximately 2-3 weeks. A temporary wall will be placed at the end of the east hall around May 1 to block access to the construction site. The wall will allow entry to the high school through at least one door.

As soon as school is out on May 24, the work will begin in the high school building and 1960s wing. During the summer, access to the big gym and weight room will need to be through the door on the west side. Coaches must be present at all times that these areas are accessed by students. If band members need to access the gym, they will also need to go outside and around to the south gym door. The entire building will be considered a construction zone so no access will be available to other areas unless arranged with someone from the construction company.

The project is currently slightly over budget with about $300,000 in the contingency portion.  Furnishings and technology are still needed to be considered but decisions on these will be made later in the summer.

The technology committee did meet and Amy Dougherty presented a ‘most desired’ list to the board. The total price for these items was $249,815. However this can be scaled down if needed. If there are no surprises in the construction, these items can be included in the project.

The list includes 80 new computers, 40 for the new computer lab and 40 replacements for a current lab. The board was hesitant to do 80 in one year as that would mean a replacement of 80 all in one year in the future. The list also included a new server for the entire school at a cost of about $31,000 and middle of the line phone system for $36,190. The server is needed no matter what and the phone system will be needed due to the construction.

Dougherty told the board that last summer they built the backbone for upgrades to the system through extensive wiring. This wiring will now be rolled back in the ceilings and walls and replaced when the construction is complete. This will involve a great deal of labor. Along with the new computers and server, there are additional items such as wiring, boxes, subscriptions and software costs. The total cost of equipment and labor dealing strictly with the new construction was $105,986. The remainder of the items would have been needed regardless of the construction.

Board member Tim Schaefer, who is also on the technology committee, commented that Dougherty did a good job prioritizing the needs. “There is no ‘fat’ in this list,” Schaefer stated.

Other action

* After kindergarten round-up, the administration is anticipating 31 students in kindergarten next year. There is also a family with a kindergarten student coming for a tour next week so the class could potentially be larger. Therefore, the board approved advertising for a .8 time kindergarten teacher who will teach kindergarten four days and have preschool courses for kindergarten students opting to attend a fifth day on Friday.

* The district will also be looking for a part-time spanish teacher or find a teacher that can be shared with a neighboring district.

* The board accepted the resignation of Vern Christie as a full-time bus driver and agreed to list him as a part-time substitute driver.

* Several items were listed as surplus and will be sold on a silent auction at the school on May 23.

* The board approved contracts for tenured teachers so contracts can be issued. Extra-curricular assignments were approved and a meet and confer with teachers will be held at a date yet to be determined.

* The board approved approximately $4,803 in donations for the Sgt. Kurt Kruize memorial scholarship fund, raised at a benefit in April.