Tricounty News

Eden Valley-Watkins School Board reviews construction work, strategic plan

At its Aug. 14 meeting, the Eden Valley-Watkins School Board approved the student and staff handbooks for the 2013-14 school year. 

Building projects are moving forward on schedule. The most visible one, at the high school, will be landscaping that will be done later this month. The Eden Valley Elementary cafeteria floor is being re-done. The air handler is being installed at Watkins Elementary, and the boilers and hot water heater already installed; everything at the Watkins school should be completed this week.

The sound system is up and working well at the high school, with other parts of the stage being installed now. Automated door locks at the high school are all installed and working. Five of the new security cameras at the high school were not working properly; they may be replaced, and the wiring has been adjusted so that everything will work correctly.

Superintendent Mark Messman summed up the construction project, saying that of the $9.6 million project, $9.4 million of it went great. He said it was well planned and well designed.

One problem area that has not yet been resolved is the new gymnasium floor in the southeast corner; it’s tight against the wall, and became wavy when the school’s air handler was down for two days. The subcontractor is not concerned about it but, as Messman pointed out, the school invested a lot in precautionary measures and the floor shouldn’t be wavy.

Now that the City of Eden Valley is able to move forward with its construction project on Highway 22, the high school will need to relocate a sewer line that was temporarily installed under the new gym. The estimated cost last year was said to be $150,000; at a meeting two weeks ago with the City, they were told it could cost $177,000. 

Messman praised the board and all those who participated in the strategic planning meetings. It was a big effort, with a lot of data resulting from it, and all without using a high-paid consultant (as many districts do). The information gathered is being condensed and processed, and will be made available to staff and the community. 

Prices for breakfast and lunch at the EV-W schools are substantially lower than the state minimum, at $1.70 vs. $2.93. The district will raise prices 5 cents each year until it is caught up with the state minimum (which will increase too, so there may never be a catch-up point).

Community Education needs new board members. The next meeting is at 7 p.m. Monday,
Oct. 14, at the district board room.

The district will have surplus items to be sold, with bids accepted for larger items and the remainder being sold garage sale-style.

The board is looking into refinancing its 2004 bond; that could save the district $326,000 over the remaining life of the bond, or about $44,000 per year.

The next meeting of the EV-W School Board will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 26 (changed from Aug. 28 because of the school open house that evening).