Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Summer Progress Report

All of a sudden summer has arrived! Up to this point we have enjoyed cooler than normal weather with an ample amount of rainfall. Well, that seemed to change about the middle of this month! We are now faced with very high humidity and heat indices of over 100! We can probably all agree that the heat of summer has arrived with a fury!

With us now looking at less summer in front of us than behind us, I thought it might be kind of fun to give you an update on the status of a few projects we are currently working on and anticipate having finished by the start of the school year. We'll round out this week's blog with plans for this fall as they relate to staffing levels when the students return.

The most striking and visible project that you have probably noticed is the relighting of the football field. This project replaces the old wood poles and light fixtures that been the mainstay of our stadium for decades. You may recall just a few years back the trouble we had with one of the fixtures on the Southeast pole that had a tendency to blink on and off in the middle of football games! A huge upgrade, this will address safety concerns with the high voltage wires that had draped between the poles and ensure a safer way to light the field. In addition, it will even out the light around the field and increase it to IHSAA standards. The lighting on the field was uneven and in some places as low as 7 foot-candles! The standard for Iowa fields is 30! We anticipate this project will be complete by August 7th.

Less noticeable are some of the upgrades that are occurring inside the school. For example, we have begun to shift more attention to the elementary school this summer as well. The big project that is being tackled right now is the renovation of the restrooms in the 5th and 6th grade wing. All the floor, tile, and ceiling is being replaced along with the fixtures in these spaces. The fixtures are all being replaced with new automatic functionality and ventilation. This project should be finished well in advance of the start of the school year.

The question that seems to be on every ones mind when I am out and about is 'What about the hotel property?" Right now the delay has to do with that little brown shed on the property. That shed is a major hub for Mediacom and needs to be moved before our final work can be completed on the site. We have been working with Mediacom for quite awhile now and are very close to having the site vacated. Interestingly, it is not as easy as you might expect when it comes to moving this shed and equipment. Apparently that little shed is a critical piece of infrastructure for Mediacom and serves as a hub for several cell phone towers and carries data for a multi-county area. At this time, Mediacom has moved and run all the new fiber and re-routed traffic away from the property. All that remains is the termination of these communication cables, which need to be precisely timed during an overnight time frame so as to keep the disruption to service at a minimum. We believe that termination will be taking place sometime this month. Once that is finished the final grading work shouldn't take much longer than 2 weeks. We are still hopeful this can be completed by the time school starts!

At the writing of this blog, we have all our hiring completed for the 2015-2016 school year. Right now we have 42 students enrolled for kindergarten, which we will have staffed with two teachers. We will continue to closely monitor this grade level the same as we have each year, and the school board will make a determination at a later date as to whether or not it is necessary to open another section. This will require very careful consideration since the level of school funding for the 2015-2016 school year was not adequate to cover expenses and the one time infusion of Capital that was agreed to by the legislature was subsequently vetoed by Governor Branstad on July 2nd. 

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