School Dist. 4 looking at move-in solutions

With asbestos abatement contracts sent out to contractors, Big Horn County School District No. 4 has to look into a plan for move in when the schools are completed. 

Supt. Kerby, in his report to the school board on Feb. 12, said the asbestos contracts were written up so they can have an eight-week window between Oct. 1 and Dec. 1. The anticipated completion date for Laura Irwin Elementary is Sept. 9 and it’s Sept. 4 for Riverside Middle/High School. No move-in dates have been set. 

“The time frame that we move in, we also at the same time, we’ve got to get everything out in these schools,” he said.

Everything in the old schools will have to be out before they come in to do the abatement. Kerby said they have to come up with a plan. 

Jaxon Womack and his mom, Kimberly Hill, shake hands with School Dist. 4 board members (l-r) Chris Kampbell, Linda Osmond, Kristen Schlattmann and Gregory Gloy at the Parade of Academic Champions on Feb. 12.
JESSICA ROBINSON PHOTO

The district’s owner’s rep, Tom Farrens, clarified that the contractors would start between those dates. “We gave them a window of a start time. Then they have the eight weeks after that,” he said.

Several board members were concerned with the start time, as it means they would have to move to the new schools mid-semester while kids are in school. 

“Why? What’s the four-alarm fire?” asked board member Audra Crouse.

“Schedule,” Kerby answered. 

Farrens explained that GH Phipps is under contract for the demolition of the schools. They want to start in the spring after the abatement is done.

For some of the board members, this was the first time they had heard of this. Board member Gregory Gloy said they had discussed moving to the new schools during Christmas break.

Several suggestions were made about the items within the school that needed to be moved. One thing Farrens advised the board is to box up and move items during the summer instead of waiting. Kerby suggested getting rid of some items, especially at the basement of LIE. He thought they could get a hold of auctioneers to sell items for a share.

“We’ve got to have a plan in place,” said Kerby.

A concern for some of the board was the idea of having to move mid-semester and how it was to be done. Kerby presented a couple of ideas. One was to schedule 176 days for the school calendar. Students are required to go for 175 days and teachers are required to have 10 personal development days. In that case, they could cancel one of the days when the time to move in arrives.

Another idea that Kerby presented came from board member Chris Kampbell. When the time arrives, they would take a Friday to work and have the following Monday off. They could work during the weekend. On top of that, the district could offer to teachers for one year four personal days instead of three with the idea that they could take a flex day later.

There was discussion about doing some temporary hiring to help with the move. Farrens said he’s heard of other schools doing that. He said he would look into how the hires were paid.

Other items discussed in Kerby’s report included the school board resolution that died in committee at the state Legislature, approval for maintenance on the track field and a rejected proposal for Cloud Peak school.

Kerby did mention there was a bus scare. The bus was completely stopped and letting a student off. Someone came around the shoulder on the right side of the bus. The person has been cited.

Building Report

Farrens reported they were on schedule for construction. In the previous report in January, the LIE construction was behind. Farrens said they have made tremendous progress on the inside of the building. 

Farrens said there are 10 days in the calendar that are planned for bad weather. Due to the extreme freezing weather, the crew had to use one of the days. Using one of those days does not affect the final completion date. 

His report included that there is painting being done in the gym and Area D. Most of the walls have been built in LIE except the administration area and the media center. Crews have begun wallboarding in the classroom areas. 

As of the last pay application, LIE is 48 percent complete. Farrens gave the board a heads up that it may get a request to hold retainage  for LIE.

Riverside High/Middle School was around 64 percent complete as of the last pay application. 

Farrens received news from the state that all of the alternates that they have bid were approved to take out of contingency. The only thing that was not approved was the asphalt for A Street and the parking lot. He is working with GH Phipps to make sure the numbers are accurate.

Crouse asked Farrens about the scoreboards. She thought their businesses were going to donate money for them. Farrens said the scoreboard is one of the alternates. He reported they have already gotten the pricing for one of the scoreboards for LIE, however, they needed to get a second one. 

When it came to the scoreboard, the specifications were for the smaller scoreboard at the elementary school. Farrens priced out for a larger, nicer one. He said they were approved for up to $9,000, but that is usually the cost for one. He added there was discussion about having donors help pay for them.

Farrens did report that anything new that the board wants to add is now considered an enhancement. He said the skylight and the exhaust fans for the laser-engraving machine need to be considered as an enhancement. The state’s reasoning for those items was they were added after all the drawings had been completed.

The districts FF&E packet was submitted to the state for review.

Kampbell brought up a few things that he and Farrens had discussed. He said the estimate for the additional office for the P.E. teacher was higher than expected and could be an enhancement.

Farrens concurred and said the estimate was pretty close to $14,000 so the state is going to make them use it as an enhancement.

Kampbell mentioned that he and the community would like to see the volleyball team play in the new gym this fall.

Farrens is looking to substantially complete the gym first. In this case, they can take over the gym after it is finished and be able to use it. It hasn’t been agreed upon with Phipps yet.
Farrens added that they would look at the calendar with them.

Administrative Reports

Principal Tony Anson reported on RMHS. The district currently has 83 students at the high school and 64 students at the middle school. He said they finished the interim WyTopp testing. It’s a small version of the state test, and they get their results immediately to review. Anson added that the eighth graders took the NAEP test.

They recognized 72 out of the 147 students that made the Red and Black Rebel Club. Anson said it not only takes in GPA, but they count attendance, discipline referrals and tardies. If they fall in that realm they get recognized. If they make the list twice, they get to go on a swim trip or something else Anson added.

His report included senior night, sports and National Honor Society induction on Feb. 26.

Principal Tracy Pare’s LIE report included WyTopp interim testing, as well. She said they have seen some growth. There was a glitch with the writing portion, she added. Other principals were reporting the glitch. Kids who wrote a whole page received low scores compared to those who wrote little. 

Pare has been coaching teachers on raising the level of engagement in their classes. She said one thing that has been helping is
the STEM program that they adopted. 

Special Education Director Lee Clucas reported that he and Dale Query went to behavior training in Powell. He also shared his opinion on moving into the buildings. Clucas believes they should just find a way to move, and it is common to move mid-semester.

In Other Business

The board approved the resignations of Principal Tony Anson and Principal Tracy Pare. 

Emily Reed presented the Student Council report, which included the Valentine’s Day fundraiser, Rachel’s Challenge, a possible spring fling event after prom and making the new school their own. 

School Resource Office Greg Noel’s report included an earthquake drill, an inspection from the fire marshall and proceeding with getting an AED for the school in Manderson.

The board took a break from the meeting to attend the Parade of Academic Champions.

James Whipps discussed the cornerstones for the new schools.

Gregory Gloy gave the BOCES report. They have new board members so there have been trainings. He reported that they have been talking with the WDE about getting one consistent funding model. 

Business manager Trevor Whitaker did not have a report.

The board approved the contracts of Trevor Whitaker as business manager and Lee Clucas as special education director.

After discussion, the board approved a motion for wood flooring to be placed in the new LIE gym.

The board had a brief discussion on a possible marquee being built at the old bus barn property on 4th Street.

By JESSICA ROBINSON