School construction reviewed by R-1 Board

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Progress on construction at Monett Elementary School was reviewed by Board of Education members during their August meeting.

Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann said the first phase of construction will focuing on adding on to the north building of classrooms. This week R.E. Smith Construction crews poured concrete footings for the new building where the playground had been. The north area has been separated from the rest of the campus by a substantial amount of orange fencing.

Work will concentrate on the upper level before moving down to the parking lot level to build the office at the new entrance as phase two of the project. Jungmann hoped the road for buses around the northeast corner of the campus could be finished by the winter.

Rearranging the campus to move all 12 classrooms from the north wing required careful planning. Jungmann said changes extended to the Monett Intermediate School campus, where a classroom located in the adjacent building previously used by the Career Center for its childcare program was moved into the main building. The switch opened three classrooms, enabling the early childhood program to move off the elementary campus.

The building where the early childhood program had been now houses special services and other concentrated instruction. Reading coaches and other specialized teachers doubled up on space instead of having their own classrooms. One fewer first grade classroom due to a shift in the student population made just enough space to accommodate the moved classes.

Principal Susie Gasser has had to stagger playground use throughout the day, Jungmann said. With all the students using the same play area, Gasser has shortened play time and added breaks to give children a comparable play period by day's end.

Phase three of the project will connect the buildings and construct a road around the west side of the campus.

Financial action

Construction at Monett Elementary resulted in the additional task of removing the adhesive used to hold the old asbestos tile that had been extracted a few years ago. Sunbelt Environmental, bidding against Gerken Environmental, won the contract with a low bid of $26,810.

Only one bid came in for the house built by the construction technology class at the Career Center. Since the only bid was for $5,000, far less than cost, board members voted to reject all bids and re-post a request for offers through Oct. 15. Requirements in the second listing include a minimum price of $30,000 or $60,000 if the district has to install the house on a new foundation.

Prior to the meeting, the board held its annual property tax levy hearing. The tax levy was approved at the same rate of $3.1018 per $100 of assessed property for incidental expenses and 56 cents to pay for debts.

Personal property valuations dropped by $2.5 million in the district from the previous year. New construction helped boost real estate valuations by $2.3 million. On balance, property values in the district dropped by $177,969 from the previous year.

Administrative reports

Jungmann gave board members attendance figures from the first day of school. With the student headcount up by 91 as classes started, Jungmann was optimistic the first official count on the second Wednesday in September would show overall district growth.

"Board members are encouraged to see the number of students keeps growing," Jungmann said.

Forms to evaluate teacher performance were upgraded to include a new section tracking use of technology components in the classroom. Jungmann said the district had invested heavily in SmartBoards and laptops. The forms will help show if the equipment is used effectively.

Trinity Lutheran School has requested having seventh and eighth graders participate in wrestling and football in the Monett Middle School program. Principal Jay Apostol briefed board members on pluses and minuses of having such an arrangement. A decision will only affect next year's sports participation, Jungmann said, and will not be made for a month or two.

Board members scheduled their annual retreat for Sept. 8 to discuss long-range plans. The board will hold its next regular meeting at 6 p.m. on Sept. 23 in the administrative office behind the EE Camp Gymnasium.
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