Posted 3/15/16 (Tue)
By Jody Michael
Divide County School Superintendent Sherlock Hirning has begun meeting regularly with the engineers and construction manager at-risk for the upcoming construction project to finalize design plans, he said Thursday during the school board’s regular monthly meeting.
Two minor revisions have already taken place in this planning stage as representatives from FCI Constructors and EAPC perform walkthroughs of the school buildings.
In the high school, the fitness addition will go east of the gymnasium, nearer to the band room, Hirning said, so that it won’t be “sticking out.”
Hirning said that room would have been “sticking out” now that the originally planned larger addition along the building’s south end, which included an extra gymnasium for junior-high use, is unlikely to be part of this project.
In the elementary school, Hirning said the original plan underestimated the space needs of the music room.
“They’re going to go back and add about 15 feet to the side of the building,” Hirning said. “Instead of 1,230 square feet, it’ll be closer to 1,500 or 1,600 square feet.”
Discussion on how and when to install the elevator is ongoing, as that addition will displace Principal Tanja Brown from her current office.
“We weren’t planning to do the office remodel until the heating’s done and the elevator’s done,” Hirning said. “We want to get started with the elevator as soon as we can.”
Hirning said FCI and EAPC will both be returning later this week for further planning.
The board approved the sale of $2.97 million in bonds, out of the $9.9 million voters approved in February. The school is also applying for a construction loan from the state.
Hirning asked the board to decide between propane and electric boilers for the new backup systems in both buildings.
“In the elementary, we’d have to bury a very large propane tank,” Hirning said. “There’s not going to be any room to put it anywhere else. There was some concern about not wanting to bury a propane tank.”
Board President Pete Fagerbakke questioned how large the tank would have to be for a backup system.
“It might not be the end of the world to bury a secondary usage tank,” he said.
Board Member Steve Feil said he expects the backup system would get considerable usage.
“Once the temperature drops so low, they will have to be used anyway,” Feil said. “It wouldn’t just be in an emergency situation.”
The board asked Hirning to find out the minimum required size of the tank before proceeding.
Earlier this year, the board determined it will go with a geothermal system for the primary heat source.
While Hirning received a satisfactory mark in all portions of his annual summative evaluation, both he and the board are considering the adoption of a more detailed rubric that includes a point system and a self-assessment.
“We should talk about where I think things are different from what you’re saying, and where you think it’s different from what I’m saying,” Hirning said.
The North Dakota School Boards Association has been updating its recommended evaluation format to include greater detail than a simple “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” rating.
The board was receptive to the suggestion.
“We can say it’s satisfactory but that there’s room to work,” Board Member Jessica Busch said, “and we can make note of strong points.”
Fagerbakke complimented Hirning on “a job well done,” and Hirning thanked the board.
“I appreciate the vote of confidence,” Hirning said.