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Van-Far board discusses upgrades, widening entry

Posted on Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 10:05 am

Looking at the main entrance of Van-Far High School.

Looking at the main entrance of Van-Far High School.

Van-Far Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hunter provided facility updates to the School Board during their meeting held before Thanksgiving week.
In his report, he noted that piping in the high school hallway had been leaking in some areas due to condensation.
The pipes were originally installed for heat only and when chilled air passes through, it causes condensation that drips through gaps in the insulation where the brackets are located and where the pipes pass through the walls.
Superintendent Dr. Hunter added that this is something that is seen in a lot of older buildings.
He did say that as moisture is discovered, the district is working hard to address the areas.
Bids have been received to remove the damaged parts and install more insulation in the troublesome areas. The plan is to have the work completed over Christmas break.
“We’ll be doing the work over the break when nobody’s here so it doesn’t disrupt the kids,” he noted.
Another item discussed in the board meeting involves research provided by Dr. Hunter relating to possible turn lane options at the high school.
According to meeting minutes, MoDOT will not fund such a project and the cost would be approximately $100,000 construction cost per lane, plus design costs, etc.
Discussion emphasized that it would make the area safer, pulling in and out of the parking lot, but is too costly for the operating funds. Widening the entrance with the parking lot project was suggested. Parking lot lighting was also discussed and Ryan Morris reported he has been working on getting one of the light fixtures replaced as the entire unit isn’t operable.
Jon Berendzen, of Berendzen and Associates, provided information about preparing for the next step of the construction/remodel project, which is the abatement and pod remodel at the elementary.
The proposed timeline is to advertise for bids in January and approval in February. In March, the parking lot bid could be finalized.
Due to the tight timeline, Berendzen suggested that the abatement and remodel bids be under one contract for better pricing and accountability. He estimated the cost of the abatement portion to be around $100,000. Superintendent Dr. Hunter and Berendzen had a walk-thru of the project. Berendzen reported the project is progressing on schedule, with a January 1 completion.
There have been three change-order notices:
• Some of the doors have been traded and moved around, requiring the purchase of additional handles and closures.
• The addition of five isolation valves for each area covered by the Samsung mechanical unit.
• Power to the wash fountains in the elementary restrooms was overlooked and added in lieu of battery units. The additional cost of $740 will be split between the school and the architect firm.
Additional phones have been purchased for the elementary classrooms.
Gym Banners
During a discussion on the recent success of athletes with district and sectional titles, more attention has been brought on the banners of the gym.
The current banners are made of felt and it is hard to match the material and style. There are newer banner designs that would last longer and might be a good option. The cost would be approximately $110-120 per banner.  The district could start with this year’s softball, track and cheerleader titles and gradually replace others.
The 2014-2015 Audit was approved.
Travis Huntley, auditor, thanked the board for the opportunity to perform the district’s audit. He also thanked Superintendent Dr. Hunter and the office staff for providing the requested information.
Huntley stated the district received a clean audit and all aspects of the audit proved materially correct. The only concern reported was the small number of personnel that are responsible for the accounting duties.
This is always a noted concern in small districts that cannot justify hiring enough staff for these positions. He provided an overview of the audit report and reported that the district reserves are considered in a healthy range.
Student Recognition
Van-Far Jr./Sr. High School Principal Cindy Pirch and FFA Advisor Tonya St. John presented FFA members who had attended recent events and the students reported on these events.  The events and attendees include:
• Washington Leadership Conference–Renee Nelson, Matty Northcutt, and Hailey Hopke.
• World Dairy Expo–Logan Wilson, Mackenzie Kurz, and Alec Adam.
• Food For America at the elementary–Jada Borgmeyer, Mackenzie Kurz, Alec Adam, Dalton Buie, and Caden Wilburn.
• National FFA Convention- Klayton Haddock, Courtney Jennings, Renee Nelson, Haley Hopke, Dalton Buie, Jayda Borgmeyer, Caden Wilburn, Logan Wilson, and Paul Schambach.
Notable Upcoming
Van-Far events
Upcoming events at Van-Far Elementary include:
November 20 – Dental checkups by Dr. Papa and PTO Movie Night.
November 24 – Kindergarten Thanksgiving Dinner
December 4  –  Leader In Me Student Lighthouse Team will attend Student Leadership Day in Hannibal.
December 5 – Regional Math Competition
December 7, 10, and 17  – Elementary Music Programs
Upcoming events for the Jr./Sr. High School include:
November 24  – Barnwarmin’
December 5  – Winter Formal
December 8  – Winter Concert
December 11  – DAR will recognize veterans at the ballgame and Project Prom Soup Supper
December 18  – Drama will present a one-act play and chili supper fundraiser
December 25-30  – Band Trip to Florida. Principal Pirch reported there has been wonderful community support of this event.
Crystal Sparks had her Consultant Contract approved.
VFTA Representative Shelly Buie reported that informational meetings were held in October and November and the Welfare Committee had met with the administration. Plans are underway for a VFTA Carnival to be held on April 1.
Enrollment totals show 623 students, with 261 in the Jr./Sr. High School and 362 in the Elementary School.
The district will look to surplus the Early Childhood trailer after the move to the new facility.
The flex spending checking account is no longer used with the switch to American Fidelity. The balance will be transferred to the general checking account.
An APR and MSIP5 scoring review were discussed as the district score was a 90.7%, which is up from 81.4% in 2014.
The Adult Education Program received a one time monetary bonus of $15,000.
A second reading was done for 2015C Policy Updates.
MSBA Policy CBG (Evaluation of the Superintendent) was tabled in October and concern on structure was discussed. The issue failed due to lack of a motion.
Filing dates were set for the 2016 election of board members. Filing begins at 8 a.m. December 15, 2015 and closes at 5 p.m. on January 19, 2016. Filings can be made during regular business hours, excluding days the business office is closed.
The online policy and full-maintenance policy with MSBA was approved.
Several items were also approved for surplus purchase. It was noted that items can also be posted with govdeals. More discussion will be held in December.
In reports of members, board member Larry Wheeler asked about principal search dates. After discussion, the salary would be negotiable, based on experience, resume deadline of December 31, 2015, initial review of candidates January 6, 2016, and interview by board January 13, 2016.
Board member Kevin Motley read a thank you note from the family of Bonnie Boin for a plant.
Board member Kimber Nation provided research information on a four-day school week. She listed some of the states utilizing it and their reasons:  teacher retention, parent and student relationships and cost savings. It was suggested that this be placed on the December agenda.
Board President Christy Nelson thanked the board for their support of the Project Prom Basket Lucky.
In Executive Session, minutes from previous meetings were approved. The board also voted to allow the early graduation of two students upon completion of credits and attendance requirements.
WERDCC Warden Angela Messmer presented the awards to each officer