Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
The USD 231 school board met on June 4 to consider expenses associated with the turf upgrades at athletic fields, equipment for the tech center and heard results from a study of the district by Kansas Association of School Boards.
The board approved a construction committee recommendation for purchase of a plasma cutting table for the tech center at a cost of $26, 241. The selected bid was similar in cost to other bids but included training which the others did not. Following approval, it should be delivered and installed in about 8 weeks and ready for usage near the beginning of the next school year.
Brian Jordan of the Kansas Association of School Boards gave a presentation of results from a study of district operations.
“Every district has its challenges and districts that go through changes as significant as you guys have gone through the last several years, related to rapid growth, related to changes in leadership, there’s always symptoms that come out in systems or organizations when those changes happen”, said Jordan.
Jordan reviewed a number of areas, including unity of purpose, strategic plan processes, ways to improve current efforts and districtwide staffing formulas.
Jordan showed numerous charts comparing statistics of USD 231 to many other districts.
“You guys have a lot of good things happening in your district – there’s a lot of good work happening here,” said Jordan in conclusion.
Bruce Kraci, USD 231 director of operations, presented staff’s request for allocation of contingency monies for synthetic turf upgrades at GEHS District Athletic Complex.
Some of the fields have already been completed. As the work progressed, soil stabilization was needed, resulting in extra costs.
The project cost of $2.7M and was funded with bond money. The additional requested funds would come from capitol outlay and would cover about $60,000 in soil stabilization expenses already incurred, as well as additional expense now expected to complete the remaining fields.
Robin Strenz, board member, asked if the soil had been tested prior to the bid. Kraci said it was not tested. He said that it depends on the amount of moisture the fields were exposed to during winters, and it was unknown if it would be needed. Kraci said if they did not havbe to spend the money, they wouldn’t.
Some of the already replaced fields have need soil stabilization and others have not.
“Over the course of a 30 to 40 life or longer of those fields, it’s probably a good investment at this point not only for the original turf but the replacement of turfs that come in the future,” said Kraci.
Strenz asked Jeremy McFadden, finance director, if he had any concerns about this extra expense, and he said he did not.