The Pierce City R-6 Board of Education voted at its May meeting to go forward with a fine arts addition to the high school with available funds, rather than wait for voters to reconsider their negative vote on school construction. By a unanimous vote, board members authorized creation of building specification so that bids could be secured.
Architect Jim Rutledge with Werner and Associates brought a slightly revised plan back to the board for its consideration. The 4,000-square-foot addition to the front of the high school gym, which will cost an estimated $450,000, still contained major rooms for music and art. The superintendent's office, in the new plan, would not move, unlike the earlier proposal.
Rutledge proposed expanding the superintendent's office along the west wall of the new addition and turning the major part of the current office into a conference room, which the superintendent's office has never had. The current west door by the superintendent's office will become the main entrance into the building, consolidating movement for improved security.
The lobby for the gym, Rutledge said, might be a little smaller but would have more useable space with a back counter for the concession stand. The east corner of the current lobby, which had been proposed for the superintendent's office, offered an alcove that could be separated from the rest of the art room for different projects or class groups, thus offering more flexibility from the one-room art classroom concept.
Board members generally liked the new ideas. Board member Fred Slagle voiced his wish to move ahead at the same time with building the $700,000 addition for the vocational agriculture program. Slagle suggested exploring the possibility of putting up the ag shop now and finishing the rest of the building later.
Superintendent Russ Moreland cautioned against overcommitting funds, in light of the pending track repairs, which could cost $130,000. The district's fund for building construction has a $920,000 reserve in it that had taken years to build, he said.
Rutledge got board members to agree to having the topographic survey and soil sampling for construction expanded to include the ag shop proposal and the frontage along Adams Street, the proposed site for the new high school. Much of the cost for soil studies is in mobilization of the team, Rutledge said, making it cheaper to expand the work than to call the company back a second time. Soil work and surveying would cost around $10,000.
|Figures presented to the board by Rutledge showed a 5 percent fee from the Werner architectural firm. Rutledge explained with a smaller project than the $3.5 million school addition, the architect's fee might be larger than the originally agreed upon 4.5 percent.||Moreland assured board members that the original contract remained in effect, and it would be up to company head Richard Werner to come back to the board for a revision. Satisfied, board members voted to move forward with the plan.|
St. Mary's proposal
A proposal from St. Mary's Catholic School called for a higher level of interaction between the parochial school and the public school. Athletic Director Cari Caddell and her assistant Shelly Stellwagen explained that the Missouri State High School Activities Association had voted to allow cooperative agreements between junior high schools.
St. Mary's hoped to establish a way in which its students could become part of Pierce City's junior high sports teams when there are not enough St. Mary's students to have their own team. They said three boys wanted to keep playing football, continuing their previous experience on town Mighty Mite teams. There was also interest among the boys in playing basketball, while there were enough girls to keep a separate volleyball and basketball team. St. Mary's could opt out of the co-op on any sport.
Stellwagen and Sally Heidlage, St. Mary's co-principal, explained the addition of St. Mary's students could add numbers to a Pierce City team on a year when Pierce City did not have enough students to complete a team, so advantages could work both ways. Pierce City coaches would have authority for discipline, and St. Mary's would adhere to Pierce City's stricter eligibility requirements.
Cost would be $4 per student per sport for catastrophic insurance under the state. St. Mary's representatives said the school could pay that if necessary, though board members noted St. Mary's patrons were for the most part paying property taxes into the public school district and may be covered. St. Mary's already works with the district for bus use.
Board members asked about possible participation with Trinity Lutheran School in Freistatt. The St. Mary's delegation said Lutheran schools had their own league, and based on what happened with one school in Springfield, appeared divided over the idea of participating outside their league.
Moreland envisioned the biggest problems arising out of St. Mary's students playing in sports when they lived outside of the district, especially when a Pierce City student had to sit on the bench. Coaches could be training non-taxpaying students who would compete against Pierce City later.
Stellwagen said St. Mary's only wanted to follow state guidelines. Practices would have to be before or after school to not interfere with classes. The Diocese also had a limit of four hours of practice per week.
Board President James Barchak said the board would consider the proposal and get back to St. Mary's. Agreements could be established up to the time practices start. The St. Mary's group said an answer would be appreciated in July.
The board made several personnel decisions in closed session.
Allie Massa was hired as a half-time vocational agriculture teacher and half-time special education teacher for the coming year, as well as FFA advisor. Vanessa Ellison was hired as a middle school language arts teacher. Chris Lowe was hired as the summer school driver's ed instructor.
Extra duty contracts were awarded. Among them was a contract to Bruce Johnson, of Monett, a non-faculty member, to be the middle school assistant football coach.
Matt Street was named as a new assistant high school football coach, succeeding Jerry Hanson. New teacher Jeff Charles was named as golf coach.