(Posted June 19, 2015)
By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer
Changes are coming at the Madison-Plains Local Schools campus by the time students and teachers return to class in August.
Superintendent Tim Dettwiller told school board members on June 16 that the four areas getting attention this summer are traffic flow, school furniture, the intermediate gym, and the intermediate lunchroom.
“Just give me the go ahead and we’ll start work tomorrow,” Dettwiller said.
Traffic flow tops the list because of student safety, he said. Many vehicle crashes have occurred in front of the campus. Complaints have also been lodged about the lack of sufficient parking spaces.
Currently, the parking lot in front of the elementary and intermediate buildings blends into Linson Road. Crashes have occurred as cars try to make a left turn out of the parking lot onto Linson. To increase safety, Dettwiller said only right turns out of the parking lot will be permitted.
Board member Mike Datz raised the question of what motorists are to do if they have to turn left. He outlined a scenario of making the right turn onto Linson and then going north on Route 38 as far as Newport to be able to turn around and return to Linson Road.
“You’re adding seven or eight miles to your trip,” he said.
Board president Kelly Cooley wanted to know if it was feasible to install a traffic light.
Adding to the safety component, concrete barriers will be installed in that parking area to create a traffic flow pattern where vehicles will have designated entrance and exit lanes for drop-off and pickup.
Angled parking will be instituted which, Dettwiller said, would provide 40 to 50 more parking spaces. The old shop building which is being used for miscellaneous storage will be torn down and the area used for additional parking. More lighting will be installed.
Detwiller said bids for the paving work had not yet been received for the project that is estimated to cost $35,000.
“Paving is the most costly part of it and if that cost exceeds what we think is normal, then we’ll revert to gravel lots,” he said.
The work is to be done by Aug. 7, 10 days before school starts Aug. 17.
In the area of classroom furniture, four classrooms are on the schedule to get new furniture by the end of August as well as two libraries. That work is expected to cost $100,000.
Putting in a new heating, air conditioning and ventilating (HVAC) system in the intermediate gym is anticipated to cost $81,000. This entails replacing the gas-fired boiler that pushes moisture into the gym, raising the potential for mold.
“We don’t have mold, and we don’t want to get it,” Dettwiller said.
Workers will install two heat pumps and six boilers by Aug. 7.
In the intermediate building, the wall between the lunchroom and the teachers’ lounge will be knocked out to create more space.
The ceiling will be lowered in an attempt to reduce the noise level, and doors will be installed leading from the lunchroom to the courtyard.
“Since we’re required to have a teachers’ lounge, we’re looking around for a room,” , Dettwiller said.
That work, anticipated to cost $17,500, is slated to be finished by Aug. 7.
Teachers will get a pay raise effective July 1.
The school board approved a three-year agreement that calls for an increase in the base salary of 1 percent in the first year and 2 percent in each of the other two years.
The position of facility manager was created as a supplemental offering to reduce the athletic director’s time at events so he can spend more time on his duties at school during the day.
Also mentioned in the contract were make-up days after the five calamity days. Make-up days will be all holidays beginning with Martin Luther King Day up to spring break. If necessary, spring break days will be used as make-up days, except for Good Friday.
In other personnel news, assistant principals were hired for the coming year. Brad Miller was hired as the assistant at the K-6 level and Jason Weese at the 7-12 level.
A reorganization earlier in the year reduced the number of principals from four to two, thus opening the way for the two assistants.