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EM Board of Education hears results of facilities assessment

By Cara L. Dempski

ELK MOUND — The Elk Mound Board of Education heard from a facilities assessment team during its regular monthly gathering last week.

Craig Semington, Luke Schultz and Tad Beeksma provided an overview of the assessment findings during the board’s November 20 regular meeting as part of the CESA 10 team who performed the assessment earlier this fall.

The presentation fulfills the first of three facilities outcomes detailed in the Elk Mound Area School District 2017 Strategic Plan. The second step in the facilities outcome is “By October 31, 2018, the Board of Education and administrative team will gather input from the students, staff and community regarding the facilities assessment. The information gathered will assist the administrative team in developing a prioritized facilities list.”

The final goal listed under the facilities outcomes is for the administrative team to generate a prioritized list and cost estimates and present the list to the board no later than January 31, 2019.

Schultz introduced the trio of CESA representatives, and then yielded the floor to Semington, who took the board through the current building dimensions, the district enrollment and projected enrollment, and things like energy usage in the building and on the grounds.

The results

Beeksma then took over to discuss the items in need of attention in each building. The printed report provided to the board members and district residents in attendance indicated the elementary school urgently needs better lighting inside and out, weather sealing on windows, new weather stripping for exterior doors, a new water heater, roof repairs, and replacement of the building boilers.

The most urgent needs at Mound View are the office floors, which are carpeted and have become a safety hazard due to no longer being safely adhered to the surface, and the parking lot, where there is cracked concrete, trip hazards, and a narrow student drop-off entrance and exit.

Beeksma noted the narrow driveway into the parking lot for the student drop-off could cause significant issues with sight lines for both vehicles and pedestrians.

The report indicated both interior and exterior spaces at the middle school – and the elementary and high schools – should be switched from fluorescent to LED lighting for better light and energy efficiency. There were also suggestions to address cracks in retaining walls and parking lots to reduce issues with structural integrity and safety.

The group encouraged the board to evaluate the water downspouts at the middle school for efficiency and to reduce the amount of building degradation occurring around them. Finally, the building locker rooms will need to be brought into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Currently, the  boys’ and girls’ locker rooms are not set up for students with disabilities, and there is concern over a lack of adequate central space for special eduction classrooms.

In addition to giving attention to boilers, windows, and weatherproofing like the other buildings, Beeksma mentioned the board needs to look heavily into repair and replacement of the high school parking lot due to pooling water accelerating surface degradation.

Another urgent need at the high school? Trip hazards on the track due to water pooling. The water drains from the football field onto the track, leading the group to suggest the entire football field and track be redone to drain properly so any new track surface can maintain its integrity.

Finally, Beeksma called attention to the music department and boys’ and girls’ locker rooms at the high school. He noted most other schools have separate spaces for choir and band instead of sharing a space, and indicated the girls’ locker room is roughly half the size of the boys’ facilities.

The assessors’ suggestion was to find ways to adjust the size of both locker rooms to allow for visiting teams to have space of their own when playing at Elk Mound High School.

District superintendent Eric Wright spoke briefly about the plans already in progress regarding a number of spaces in need of attention before the CESA representatives presented their estimated costs and dateline for repairs.

According to the report, it is recommended the district repair the track and football field, middle school locker rooms, and parking lots in 2018 at a cost of approximately $900,000. The report estimated the MS roof and boilers would come next in 2019 at around $1.3 million, and the high school and Mound View roof repairs and boilers would be up in 2020, again at a cost of approximately $1.3 million.

While board members agreed with Wright that several of the recommended projects are budgeted for the current school year, a future referendum was not left out of the question.

Other business

In other business, the board read through a proposed policy on disposition of district property a second time before voting unanimously for its approval. The board also approved the 2018-2019 calendar, the resignations of the middle school basketball coach (Brandon Powell) and high school assistant track coach (Jon Linzmeier), and use of CESA 11 for paper products.

The board indicated the next regular meeting will be held December 18 after the holiday concert before adjourning to closed session.

During the session, the board:

• Approved hiring Amie Stillman as the new district Agriculture Teacher

• Approved elementary physical education teacher Jon Chisholm as the new middle school girls’ basketball coach.

• Approved Michelle Lee as the new assistant powerlifting coach.

• Approved hiring Lisa Yakesh as a high school paraprofessional and April Sarbeck as an early childhood paraprofessional at Mound View.

• Approved hiring former head track coach Jeremiah Fredrickson as an assistant track coach.