HURON — The Huron School Board approved its 2014-2015 calendar Monday evening at the first of its twice-monthly meetings for February.
The calendar passed by a 4-1 vote of the board with Garrett Bischoff, David Wheeler, Tim Van Berkum and Sherman Gose voting for it and John Halbkat casting a vote against.
As approved, the district will start school on Tuesday, Sept. 2, and will conclude classes on Friday, May 29.
With the later start, the break for the semester will not occur during the holiday break but instead, the final day of the first semester will be Thursday, Jan. 15, allowing for almost two weeks of first semester classes after the break.
That will guarantee 174 student contact days and 180.5 days for teachers.
The one sticking point for Halbkat came with the graduation date, because it will now fall on the Sunday (May 25) of Memorial Day weekend.
Halbkat, who has been on the board for what will be 12 years, discussed his decision.
He prefaced his concern by recognizing the efforts of the calendar committee and those that work on it.
He mentioned that with the Sept. 2 start date Huron will probably have the latest start in the state, and he realizes the factors that work into that date, including Splash Central.
“I know that I heard loudly that as a community that really supports our school district, many view graduation being on that weekend not being ‘community friendly,’” said Halbkat. “It is because I heard so loudly, and because it was such a painful process when we made those changes that I kind of have to stick to that.”
Halbkat also made the announcement at the meeting that he will not serve another term on the school board, retiring from it after 12 years.
The deadline for filing petitions for the spring school board election is Feb. 28.
He said he is proud of all the positive things that have happened while he was on the board and also the tough decisions that the board faced.
“We have made tough, tough decisions over time, but I know in my heart, that I as a school board member and the members I have served with, have made decisions we felt were best for the students and the patron’s of our district,” said Halbkat. “I have always felt that people respected my being part of those decisions. You will have people that disagree with you, I have never felt disrespected. I feel blessed from that standpoint.”
He said while capital projects make it easy to see what a board has done, he also said setting policy and seeing the work that teachers do day in and day out along with the backing of the community has been rewarding.
“The support of this community is phenomenal,” said Halbkat. “I believe that our school district is such a strong rock in our community. It is a constant. It is something people can always rely upon and they get behind us and support us,” said Halbkat. “I know there is a good strong community of people out there that are waiting to serve and willing to serve.”
He also invited them to start the process now since there is less than three weeks for petitions to be filed.
The board also approved new business concerning the parking lot that the middle school shares with the Nordby Center.
The board approved capital funds to pay for an overhaul of the lot’s surface.
The project was identified as one of eight non-academic facility needs that should be addressed according to a report submitted by Kelly Christopherson, the district’s business manager.
It was at the top of the list and will include work to be done on the road that wraps around to the back of the middle school.
The cost for the project is estimated at $160,000.
The goal of the project is to address these eight needs, and it is also to be done without additional school district debt.
Second on the list is a 12-court tennis complex, which would likely be built on the land west of the school. Currently there are four courts in the area.
Christopherson said the need for the likely $1 million project is that the current accommodations of teenis meets being split between Winter Park and those courts at the high school have left many teams unhappy and unwilling to schedule Huron home meets.
The biggest price tag on the list comes in at No. 3 and is a year-round transportation facility for those purposes alone.
A Koch-Hazard Architect study said a likely facility would cost up to $3 million, depending on the square footage.
The city and school district have had preliminary talks about sharing such a facility dedicated to transportation.
Fourth on the list would be an artificial turf surface for Tiger Field.
The surface, which would cost around $800,000, could pay off in the long run with upkeep and maintenance and give a great surface to be used for year-round activities like marching band and soccer.
The fifth item is bleachers for Huron Arena. While the bleachers have held up well against the rigors of the arena, moving them on and off the floor’s surface for storage has begun to wear on some of the inner workings of the bleachers.
When asked if the bleachers could be used elsewhere in the district, Christopherson said that it could be a possibility but there are logistical problems with their size because they wont fit through regular size doors. The cost for bleachers would be around $400,000.
Sixth on the list would be new lights at Tiger Stadium. A lightening storm caused some havoc with them last summer and some damage was done. However, this project would most likely be done when the artificial turf is installed as all that work would likely be easier and more cost effective to do all at once. The cost is projected to be $225,000.
Seventh and eighth on the list are parking issues. The first is a redesign of parking in the front of the high school along with irrigation, while the final of the eight deals with paving the parking lot at Tiger Stadium. The cost for the work in front of the high school would be $500,000 while the stadium lot would be $200,000.
Six other items were identified as possible facility improvements but are likely to be lower cost.
First on the list is a video board for Huron Arena. While it has a price tag of $220,000, the cost would likely be funded by advertising.
Second was irrigation work on the marching band practice area. It is already in the 2013-2014 capital outlay budget at a cost of $25,000.
Third on the list would be part of the Tiger Stadium turf installation. When that happens, the long and triple jump areas at Tiger Stadium would likely be moved to outside the track infield. That cost would be $15,000.
Fourth on the list would be creating or relocating an outdoor student area closer to the link and removing the structures that are currently in front of the school to ease access into the school. That cost is projected at $10,000.
Fifth is repair of some of the paving surface west of the link that was used for a staging area while the high school renovation was being done. That cost is likely to be about $50,000.
The final item is to get a concrete floor in the Tiger Stadium maintenance shop. Currently the shop has a gravel floor, but by using inmates from the corrections department it would make the cost just the materials and cost about $50,000 to complete the job.For the complete article see the 02-11-2014 issue.
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