Elk Mound schools consider bids for facilities assessment

By Cara L. Dempski

ELK MOUND — The Elk Mound Board of Education took a step toward completing the first of three facilities outcomes listed in the 2017 strategic plan.

Board members learned July 24 that district superintendent Eric Wright had been in contact with three firms to solicit bids for completion of facilities assessments. The strategic plan indicates the first facilities outcome should be completed by the end of the upcoming school year to summarize the condition of all district structures and infrastructure.

[emember_protected] Furthermore, the assessment will include suggestions for upgrading, replacing, or adding to the existing facilities and will be given to the board by the end of June 2018. The plan is also to provide a summary of the information for district residents.

Wright informed the board he had spoken with representatives at Kraus Anderson in Minnesota, Eau Claire’s Market and Johnson, and CESA 10 regarding costs for the assessment. His ultimate goal, he said, was to come out of the assessment process with a five- and 10-year plan and prioritized list of things that need to be taken care of.

The district superintendant said the CESA 10 assessors and Kraus Anderson turned in bids of $8,000 each for between two and four days examining the facilities, speaking to staff, meeting with administrators, and looking over prior work plans.

In contrast, Market and Johnson said they could complete the assessment for free, but there would be a cost for architects to be involved. Wright said he told the firm Elk Mound is not looking for drawings or plans, and asked for a ballpark figure. He was told Market and Johnson’s bid would likely be between $10,000 and $15,000.

He reportedly informed Market and Johnson and Kraus Anderson he had no intention of signing a document that could tie the district to using either firm for future work, stating the district only wants an idea of how existing facilities look and approximate costs for any repairs, replacements or additions.

Current board president Tim Sivertson made a statement clarifying the board’s decision was between a firm who had knowledge of Elk Mound’s buildings and long-range planning practices, and a new group  working independently to provide an opinion.

Wright encouraged the board to consider CESA 10’s bid after hearing from several other local school districts who had nothing but positive feedback regarding CESA assessments performed.

“I tell you, CESA 10 is not in it to make a profit,” Wright said. “They’re in it to help us and provide information.”

The statement seemed to make an impression on the assembled board members, who expressed appreciation for CESA’s independence and desire to serve schools.

The board agreed the CESA 10 team was the best option, and Wright informed members he had been told the team could complete the physical inspection and interviews in August. It would then take a few months to compile a full report for the board.

The motion to award the project to CESA was approved unanimously.

Other business

The school board also unanimously approved the preliminary 2017-2018 budget in preparation for the district’s budget hearing and annual meeting scheduled for August 21. The regular school board meeting will start at 6:45 that evening, and the budget hearing will begin at 8 p.m.; the annual meeting will begin immediately after the budget hearing. Any regular business not completed prior to 8 p.m. will be continued after the annual meeting.

School food service prices have increased by $.10 as required by the federal government. Elementary school lunch will go up to $2.40 in the 2017-2018 year, while middle and high school students will be charged $2.75. Adult meals will remain at $3.50, milk will stay $.25 per carton, a la carte items are still $1.50, and breakfast will still cost $1.25.

The board also approved 2017-2018 academic standards, the academic and career plan, the extracurricular handbook, and the resignations of both paraprofessional Courtney Jones-Holm and middle school instructor Deeann Thompson.

With the regular business concluded, the board adjourned to closed session. Wright later reported no action was taken during the session. [/emember_protected]