The Goessel school board discussed at its Nov. 12 meeting the possibility of a bond project to better meet educational and safety needs of the students.
The need for a storm shelter at the elementary school has been noted in recent years. The agriculture department at the high school has also been highlighted for the many needs in that building.
The high school science and family/consumer science departments are also in need of updating, as well as the art classroom and the weight room, which is too small.
Superintendent John Fast and Scott Boden, junior/senior high school principal, led a tour of the high school facility during the meeting to show how spaces are currently used and to present possible improvements.
The board stopped first at the weight room, which is too small for the current number of stations. There is no space for other kinds of stations. The weight room could instead offer space for maintenance equipment and maintenance office. Current maintenance space is inadequate.
Another idea would be to use the current weight room for football storage. Football equipment is currently stored in a shed that has no climate control.
Fast told the board the weight room could be moved to the current art room, which would offer more space, and the location would be better for students.
Years ago, the art room was the band room and still has the concrete risers built into the floor from that era. Fast said the risers could easily be removed to provide a flat floor. The suspended ceiling could be removed, which would add 8 inches, making the floor-to-ceiling height 8 feet eight inches.
The room already has water availability, which would make it easy to install water fountains.
Small rooms just off the art room could be used as a coach’s office and could provide a small space for referees when they work ball games. Therefore, the weight training facility could be improved by utilizing space that is currently available within the school building.
The art room, then, could be moved to the current high school science lab. Brian Stucky, art teacher, had suggested cutting a wall from that room to the outside courtyard to make it accessible for art students.
This room would have more natural light than the current art room and would also be adjacent to the Emil Kym Art Exhibit area.
Some of the science work stations and storage cabinets could possibly be retained. Water is available in that room for art use.
The board discussed possibilities for the current FACS classroom. It was noted that space is needed for special-needs students and the school psychologist.
The board noted that these suggestions would meet needs and would make use of space that is already available, thus reducing the amount of new space to be constructed and lowers cost estimates to $2.915 million.
That would leave high school science, agriculture and FACS to be housed in new construction. Fast mentioned incorporating details that would promote lower utility bills and would be environmentally responsible.
Summing up what the board had seen, board member Maynard Knepp said, “Those are good thoughts. That’s encouraging.”
Board member Darla Meysing agreed: “This is important for the students. There is a need.”
Board chair Dan Miller added, “We’re at a crossroads where some decisions will be made, and they will influence future years.”
Fast said some teachers had asked if each classroom could benefit from the proposed bond project. Technology was mentioned as a classroom need.
Back in the board room at the elementary school, the board approved Loyd Builders, owned by Josh Walker. They also approved Steve Shogren as bondsman.
The board compiled a list of candidates for a renovation project steering committee. The committee would be comprised of representatives from all parts of the school, community members and a board member. The committee will need to submit a plan to the board by Jan. 7.
The board discussed plans for two public meetings to introduce constituents to the facility needs, Nov. 18 and 19.
Board members Lynnette Duerksen and James Wiens said they planned to listen to the comments of the community and report back to the board.
Fast said more community meetings would be held, and there will be additional opportunities for the community to provide feedback.
In other business, the board:
• heard about high participation at parent-teacher conferences Oct. 22. Fast reported nearly 100 percent participation at each grade level at the elementary school.
• approved a contract for Justin Baldia, a Bethel College senior, as assistant high school boys’ basketball coach. Boden said Baldia has coached youth basketball teams.
• heard from Boden that 22 junior high girls are participating in basketball and 17 boys, 16 high school girls and 27 high school boys. High school basketball practice began Nov. 12, the same day the junior high played its first basketball game of the season.
• heard that Grandparents’ Day was scheduled for Nov. 20 in the third-grade class. Dale Wiens and Allison Krehbiel are the third-grade teachers.
• heard from Boden that Nov. 20 would be community service day at the high school.
• heard that Pam Abrahams will lead the school garden project at the elementary school.
• heard from Fast that the Kansas Department of Education is proposing significant changes in evaluating teachers.
• heard that Fast and board member James Wiens plan to attend the Kansas Association of School Boards meetings Nov. 30 to Dec. 2. Wiens plans to attend a Schools for Quality Education breakfast in Topeka.
• heard Chet Roberts, business administrator, caution the board to watch spending because finances are tight as a result of state cuts. Wiens said “we don’t know what the legislature will do.”
• heard there would be no school Nov. 21, 22 and 23 because of Thanksgiving.
• heard that high school fall awards night was scheduled for Nov. 13.
• heard that Boden and school counselor Janna Duerksen had attended the Kansas Department of Education fall conference. They attended sessions on college and career readiness, implementing common core standards, replacing adequate yearly progress with another type of assessment and different teacher evaluation procedures.
Boden said there was talk of bringing back the writing assessment.
• heard Kelly Booton, the board’s representative on the Marion County Special Education Cooperative, report the MCSEC met Oct. 15 and saw that the east wing of the building is being demolished.
• heard The Learning Consortium report from Darla Meysing. The TLC seems to be running smoothly.
• met in a special meeting Oct. 22 and approved a contract for Aaron Topham as assistant junior high boys’ basketball coach.
• accepted the resignation of Eric Schrag as a school board member at the Oct. 22 special meeting.
• met in a special meeting Nov. 5 to discuss the possible bond project. No decisions were made at that meeting.