Written by Cynthia Goerzen Tuesday, 29 January 2013 14:11
John Fast, superintendent of Goessel schools, explained remodeling and construction needs at the school buildings during the Jan. 21 meeting of the Goessel City Council.
Fast said six areas of need have been identified by the school board. Four of those are at the junior high/high school building: agricultural education department, science lab, family and consumer science, and windows and bricks in the 1930s part of the building.
Fast said that the boys’ restroom at the grade school needs to be remodeled, and the grade school needs a storm shelter.
Fast told the council the basement at the grade school is not adequate for a storm shelter.
“Last year we had a tornado going through on prom night,” he said. Prom was at the high school, which does have adequate storm protection.
“There’s probably no safer place than the locker rooms at the high school,” Fast said. But the elementary school does not have a safe place in case of storms, he added.
Darcy Nickel, a member of the school planning committee, told the council the proposed elementary school storm shelter would hold 195 people. It would be able to withstand an F-5 tornado. The above-ground shelter would have an air-lock entry and restroom facilities.
Fast said the storm shelter would have battery lighting.
Councilor Dallas Boese asked, “Is this considered a community shelter?”
Fast responded, “The focus would be for school,” but it could be used after school.
Boese also asked about agriculture, “What is the current ag-ed facility now?” Fast said it is the white building that was once the cafeteria years ago. Since then, it has been the shop for many years.
Fast said the old building has inadequate ventilation, which is a safety risk. Also, the paint room is too small; large items have to be painted outside. The roof is bad. The building is not energy efficient, and it lacks sufficient insulation.
Fast said agriculture education is becoming more sophisticated, and science will be a big part of program. The plan is to put the science department near the ag ed department.
Nickel said science and agriculture could share some supplies and could work together. The building would also provide some storage for FFA and consumer sciences.
Windows need to be replaced in the original part of the junior high/high school building, and the brick work needs attention.
Steve Shogren, bondsman, told the council, “I don’t think there’s any more important purpose than the education of our children.”
He said the 40 percent of additional state aid for the project might not be available in the future.
“Our goal in the next 10 weeks is to make sure everyone in the USD 411 school district has all the information they need to make an informed vote,” he said.
Boese asked if students can be involved in the construction process. Shogren and Fast said students cannot be involved in the actual construction because of liability issues. But Fast said two students are involved with the planning committee, and other students are working with plans in their classes.
Fast said students also will be involved with educating other high school students and the public about the project. Fast offered to host a tour of the school facilities for the city council at a later time.
“We are a small district,” Fast said. The “burden” is put on local communities and raises the question: “How much do you want a school?”
The council briefly discussed possible systems for communicating to residents in case of water leaks or emergencies. The public is reminded that leaks are not planned; therefore, the city cannot notify residents ahead of time that their water will be shut off in those situations.
Council members noted that some residents had complained when their water was shut off due to recent water leaks.
The council noted the necessity of setting up a water reserve fund for replacing the city’s aging water lines and valves. But members also noted that residents had complained about the recent small increase in water bills.
Fire hydrants were also discussed. Karen Dalke, public works director, said she checks the lift station every morning and changes filters there. She also checks the pumps every day and the water wells, chlorine level and water tower to be sure everything is working properly.
Dalke sends in water samples routinely for testing, as well as sewer samples. She checked all the water meters in town to be sure they were tight and not leaking when the temperature was cold.
In other business, the council:
• set the city-wide garage sale date for June 1 and the city-wide clean-up day for June 22 with Waste Connections providing curb-side pick-up.
• reminded the public that wood with nails is not allowed at the city’s burn site.
• briefly discussed looking into drilling a new well.
• heard about maintenance on city streets. Asphalt millings had been applied.
• heard about maintenance on city vehicles.
• heard about work on the new siren.
• the police department reported it had issued seven speeding tickets and eight verbal warnings for speed and one stop-sign violation. Officers worked two cases and were present at junior high and high school basketball games, checked doors, served court paperwork, investigated a suspicious person and a trespassing report.
Officers plan to attend taser training at the Marion County sheriff’s office.
• authorized a garage door opener for the city shop.
• reviewed equipment reserve fund projections.
• approved the equipment reserve park fund for picnic tables, the bridge and rock for the playground.
• approved capital improvement street projections for Main Street.
• approved the capital improvement fund resolution.
• heard that city offices will be closed on President’s Day, Feb. 18. The February meeting will be Thursday, Feb. 21.
• heard from Councilor Larry Schmidt that recycling Dumpsters are full every week.
• heard the drinking fountain at the city park had been vandalized
• approved Ordinance 245 stating solid waste rates with Waste Connections.
• approved the expenditures of $58,295, which included a bill from Kaufman Trenching and Excavating for recent water leaks.