Archive for Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Middle school tours set for next month

October 11, 2006

On Nov. 20, Tonganoxie's new middle school's doors will be open for public tours.

The day's events are set to begin with an 11:30 a.m. Legislative Visitation Day with lunch in the high school. After that, the middle school will be open for tours until 8 p.m.

The new middle school, for fifth- through eighth-graders, is part of the Tonganoxie school district's $25.3 million construction project approved by voters in November 2004.

The districtwide construction project also includes work at the high school and junior high, which will be transformed into a four-year high school campus. And the existing kindergarten- through sixth-grade elementary school will be revamped into a school for students in kindergarten through fourth grade.

Planning for budget

At Monday's school board meeting, Superintendent Richard Erickson explained what impact the new construction will have on the district's budget.

Here are some of the points he noted:

  • Additional utility costs are expected to be about $150,000.
  • The school district's insurance premium will increase by about $50,000.
  • The district will need to hire four more custodians and three more food service employees at about $160,000.
  • The district's two new bus routes will cost about $60,000.

At last month's board meeting, Erickson had mentioned the possibility of hiring another secretary to serve in maintenance, technology and the central office. But after reviewing the budget, he said he had decided against that.

"We're going to be very cautious the remainder of the year in additional positions and with expenses," Erickson said.

School board president Kay Smith said she noted that on Erickson's list he did not include provisions for paying for a full-time security officer.

Erickson said he would add that to his list.

"I talked to the police last week, and they said it would take about $50,000 to budget a police officer for the campus," Erickson said.

THS Principal Tatia Shelton said this officer would work for the school district during the school year and for the city police department during the summer.

Insurance bid accepted

The school district received one bid for the district's insurance coverage. The policy includes building and grounds, liability and workers compensation.

The bid for the insurance, which would take effect Nov. 1, was from Gliem and Giddings, which has covered the district the past year.

However, Erickson said, the $154,349 bid, which was up from $150,950, didn't include the district's new construction.

Erickson said the insurance firm now is calculating how much that would add to their bid, noting the insurer estimated it would be an additional $50,000 or so.

The new construction currently is covered under a separate program, Builders Risk Insurance.

Board member Diane Truesdell moved to accept the bid, with the contingency that the added amount for new construction not exceed $50,000. Darlyn Hansen seconded the motion, which passed, 6-0.

Right on schedule

Construction manager Kris Roberts said the district's construction is progressing well.

The new middle school will be turned over to the district early next month. At the high school, the goal is to finish locker rooms by Nov. 13, so they can be used for winter sports.

And work will begin on the elementary school next summer. Architects are still fine-tuning the plans with TES principal Jerry Daskoski.

The new water tower, which will provide fire protection for the new middle school, is being painted this week, a process expected to take about two weeks. And the city's new water line, which will run from the water plant to the new water tower, is under construction.

Board members approved an $11,065 bid from SEI to complete the security system in the addition to the high school.

Planning for the move

In January, after the winter holiday break, students in fifth through eighth grades will begin attending classes in the new middle school, at Pleasant and Washington.

And that of course, requires that furniture, equipment and school supplies be moved into the building.

On Monday, the board approved bids totaling $41,340 from two moving companies -- Gerber and Kansas City Moving and Storage -- which will transport items to the new middle school as well as to other buildings on the high school campus.

"We're moving an awful lot in a short period of time," Erickson told board members. "We need quick action. With two companies I think we've got a better chance of getting the trucks and personnel to move everything in a timely manner."

Board member Leana Leslie urged Erickson to set up a plan so school employees will know what they can move and what movers are expected to move.

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