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Crawford board again considers renovation

New media center, revamped science labs considered

October 29, 2008
The Crawford County Community School Corp. is revisiting a proposed major remodeling project at Crawford County Junior-Senior High School.

Larry Timperman, of Michell Timperman Ritz Architects, at the request of Crawford County Superintendent Dr. Mark Eastridge, at last Tuesday night's school board meeting at Marengo Elementary School outlined separate projects that would give the school a new media center and vastly updated science classrooms.

The projects, at a cost of around $2 million each, would build upon recent efforts to update the school. The corporation recently had a new roof, doors and windows put on the building, along with securing damaged walls in the gymnasium, in an effort to secure the building's shell.

"Now, we're looking at some projects that" are more education-based, Timperman said.

Eastridge, in a later interview, said that by separating the projects, no referendum would be required. He said funding would come from multiple sources.

The renovation project, which not only would include updating the science classrooms but would turn the existing media center into additional classrooms, would be paid for with $2 million of low-interest Quality Zone Academy Bonds previously secured by the corporation, Eastridge said. The new media center, which would replace the window-less, outdated library, would feature plenty of natural light and updated infrastructure, and, he said, would be paid for through a $1.5 million loan and other revenues, including existing Capital Projects Fund dollars.

Eastridge told the school board that both projects are not excessive and are needed to improve the education of students.

"We didn't want a project that included a lot of thrills, just (student) impact," he said.

Timperman also presented a third project, with an estimated price tag of $650,000, that would renovate additional classrooms, but Eastridge, in the later interview, said the school would stay at or below the $4-million total.

The school board had planned on voting on whether to allow the architects to begin schematic drawings for the two projects, but, with two members (Lucas Stroud and Tim Jellison) absent, Eastridge asked the board to table the vote until next month's meeting so all seven board members can voice their opinions. The five members present agreed to wait.

In other business, the board:

•Listened to a presentation from Gail Guerra, who teaches the special needs preschool at Marengo Elementary. The program, in its first year in the corporation, used to be held at a local off-site preschool, but the South Central Special Education Cooperative, which Crawford County is a member, decided to end that contract and have the children, ages 3 to 5, at MES.

Guerra said the majority of students have communication disorders, but the program can also help those with physical, health and cognitive disorders. In addition to her day-to-day teaching, specialized therapists come in periodically to work with the children, she said.

The program currently is serving 11 children, but others are on the list to be in the program but haven't turned 3 yet, Guerra said.

MES Principal Alan Cox said the school has worked to make the students feel comfortable in their new environment.

"We've tried to include them," he said. "We want them to be part of the school."

•Voted 4-1 (trustee Lee Holzbog against) to approve the monthly claims as presented.

•Voted 5-0 to approve the following items as part of a consent agenda:

—The resignation of Doug Pearson as eighth-grade boys' basketball coach and Crawford County Junior-Senior High School Principal Greg Moe permission to tentatively name Eric Belcher as the coach until the job posting period is over so practice can start on Oct. 20.

—The following as volunteer assistant coaches: Brad Mills, seventh-grade boys' basketball; Danny Mitchell, seventh-grade girls' basketball; and Billy Harris, eighth-grade boys' basketball.

—Sherry Schulz as dance coach, Josh Crecelius as volunteer basketball coach and Charles Pirtle as volunteer coach, all at Milltown Elementary.

—The bus addendum request of Billy Joe Walker for 4.6 miles per day starting Aug. 7.

—A memorandum stating, "Teachers who are serving as mentors to new teachers shall be paid a total amount of $500 per teacher being mentored for the 2007-08 and 2008-09 school years."

—A joint agreement between the Crawford County Community School Corp. and the Crawford County Youth Service Bureau to provide services for alternative school programs.

—A resolution for declaration of emergency regarding a sewage pipe line at CCJSHS.

—Community First Bank's bid of 2.6 percent on a temporary loan.

—Bianca Haverstock as a volunteer girls' basketball coach at Marengo Elementary for the 2008-09 school year.

—Robin Cox as track and cross country coach at Leavenworth Elementary.

The next regular school board meeting will be Tuesday, Nov. 18, at English Elementary.

The public meeting will begin immediately following the 6 p.m. closed executive session.

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