The Greene County school board expects to award the construction bid Feb. 20 for the high school/career academy building project.

High school bidding process underway

By RICK MORAIN

For The Jefferson Herald

The Greene County school board at its Jan. 16 meeting voted to let the high school/career academy building project out for bids, and set the date of Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. for a public hearing on the bids.

Feb. 20 is the date of the next regular school board meeting.

The board expects to award the construction bid for the project after the hearing on Feb. 20.

The regular meeting on Jan. 16 was preceded by a work session of the board at 5:15 p.m. at which the design plans for the project were presented. The board’s facilities committee had worked with the project architect to prepare the plans. 

Its target was to keep the project within the projected cost figure of $35.48 million, of which $21.48 million will come from the bond issue approved last April by district voters.

In order to assure that goal, the bid packet includes alternate options — so-called add-ons and deletes — that can kick in if the bid comes in lower or higher than expected. 

Funds for the project come from the $21.48 million bond issue; $5 million from the Greene County supervisors for the new career academy using tax increment financing (TIF) from property taxes on the new wind turbines in the northeast part of the county; $4.5 million from the Grow Greene County Gaming Corp. for the performing arts center and gymnasium; and $5 million from various other funds of the district. 

In addition, Richard and Delores Finch have pledged $100,000 and Landus Cooperative $50,000.

The plans could be tweaked following a Jan. 30 pre-bid conference to be held by OPN Architects at which potential bidders will be able to ask questions and make their suggestions. The architect could then issue an addendum to the plans before the sealed bids are made.

In other action at the Jan. 16 meeting, the board approved a process for exceptions to the one-mile rule for school permits. 

Under the new process, students who live less than a mile from their school attendance center may ask the board for special individual consideration of their request for a school driving permit if they participate in school-sanctioned school activities or clubs before or after school.

The board also agreed to pay soccer coaches starting with this spring’s season. Increased revenue from the updated sharing agreement with Paton-Churdan should help pay for the salaries. 

The pay schedule calls for two head coaches, one for boys and one for girls, at six units each and two assistant coaches at four units each.

One extracurricular coaching unit is $568.89.

The board approved hiring contracts for the upcoming baseball and softball season, as follows:

Baseball: John Hupp head varsity, Matthew Paulsen assistant varsity and middle school, Sean Ostendorf ninth grade, and Kevin Paulsen middle school.

Softball: Tom Kennedy head varsity, Tiffany Hupp assistant varsity, Marissa Promes ninth grade, and John Kennedy and Hannah Promes middle school.

The board accepted the resignation of Mary Pedersen as middle school cross country and girls’ basketball coach. 

Superintendent Tim Christensen reported that interviews are being held for the director of technology position. In addition, the board approved a consulting agreement for technology services with Tech Zone beginning June 25 and ending Sept. 1, 2020.

Tim Buenz, retiring school tech director, will represent Tech Zone under the agreement. The consultant fee will be $100 per hour. Work will include the areas of new building and construction, and support for ongoing district technology. It will include advising, planning and project implementation of all areas of administrative and educational technology.

Board member Steve Fisher will work on developing a plan for the district’s FFA chapter to farm the ground south of the new high school, amounting to about 40 acres.

Christensen reported that he is looking at establishing an apprenticeship program for the curriculum, and that the district may take back some of the mowing of district grounds instead of bidding all of it out.

At the close of the meeting, the board went into closed session for evaluation of Christensen. 

No action was taken after it returned to open session following the 41-minute closed session.

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