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School upgrades
getting final tweaks

By Valerie Scherbart Quist

 

A $2.2 million capital improvement project at Tracy Area Public Schools is in the home stretch.

Supt. Chad Anderson reported to the District 2904 Board of Education Monday that all of the major projects, including parking lots, sidewalks, curbs, windows, and a new track, are complete. Grass was planted last week, and brickwork is nearing completion.

Anderson said there have been a few concerns about water drainage on the new pavement. Water is pooling up on the memorial drive slopes at the high school, and in a couple of areas at the elementary school.

“It does drain eventually, but it needs to go faster,” Anderson said, because standing water in the winter will quickly turn to ice.

Plans are underway to correct the issue as soon as possible.

There have also been some concerns about the brickwork. Contractors were unable to find the exact color of brick to match at the elementary school, and as a result the brick is slightly darker.

Anderson said he has been reassured that the new brick will blend in better as it fades over the next year or so.

At this time, the district is looking at being about $160,000 over the original project estimates due to changes and additions that took place. That’s about $40,000 less than the overage that had been budgeted for, Anderson noted.

 

Lighting analysis

Anderson reported that a lighting system analysis had been completed to see how much it would cost to install LED lighting.

In analyzing the outdoor lights on both buildings, it was determined that the payback time on the LED lights would be about six years at the high school, and four years at the elementary school.

The payback time for replacing the indoor lights is much higher, and not worth considering at this time, Anderson said.

 

Activities/Community Ed.

Activities/Community Ed. Director Bill Tauer reported that no coach has been found for flag football (see related story).

Punt, Pass, and Kick had a good turnout, with 41 participants. The regional Punt, Pass and Kick event is scheduled Oct. 4 at Southwest Minnesota State University.

 

Secondary report

Principal Kathy Vondracek reported that the Power of ICU workshop was excellent, and several goals have resulted. They are: 1) Every student completes every assignment; 2) Grades at quarter/semester end remain “incomplete” until all assignments are completed and turned in; 3) Acquire Power of ICU Database, which contacts parents and lets them know when an assignment is overdue. Funding needs to be secured to purchase the database.

Vondracek said the Ben Uttecht assembly held the first week of school was well-received. She said Uttecht is an inspiring figure for the students.

Two more exchange students have arrived. Christian Paul is staying with the Sue and Daren Danielson family, and Lena Leihburg is staying with the Mike and Jenny Zeug family. Both students are from Germany. There are now five exchange students attending Tracy Area High School.

 

Elementary report

Principal Michael Munson reported that a Soles4Souls drive will be held during the month of October through the local Lions Club. Students and community members are encouraged to donate gently used shoes.

Tracy Area Elementary third graders went on a field trip sponsored by CHS on Sept. 5. The focus of the field trip was farm safety, and students went through seven stations. Munson said he was grateful to CHS for this opportunity for the students.

Work has been done to improve the structure of the Character Education program. Themes have been set for each month, with bonus traits. A parent letter will be included in the newsletter that will outline what the focus will be each month, with activities and discussion questions that can be used at home. Time was spent on workshop day on developing structure and working on lessons. Most groups have lesson plans through Christmas, Munson said.

 

Enrollment

Supt. Anderson reported that enrollment is up slightly over last year.

The enrollment breakdown is as follows: K – 50; 1st – 46; 2nd – 53; 3rd – 42; 4th – 70; 5th – 65; 6th – 51 (377 total at elementary); 7th – 68; 8th – 70; 9th – 63; 10th – 63; 11th – 58; 12th – 64 (386 total at high school); for a total of 763 students.

 

In other business:

• The board recognized the Minnesota Dept. of Education’s three-year achievement and integration plan, for $72,056.

• A motion was approved to provide meals to Tracy Kid’s World for $2.25 a meal.

• Pamela Comens was hired for a kitchen position at Tracy Area Elementary.

• Kayla Mercie was hired as a preschool paraprofessional.

• The resignation of high school paraprofessional Karen Robinson was approved.

• The resignation of Sam Woitalewicz as seventh and eighth-grade basketball coach was approved.