School Bd says Yes to new $13.1 million building project

By Tim Huether

After reviewing the bids and making budgeting adjustments to the overall bids, the Bennett County School board all voted in favor of a new building project that will cost approximately $13,120, 913.

At a special board meeting March 23, the board reviewed  the low bids for the initial proposal, and that cost would have been approximately $14,658,785. The board fine tuned the project to get it down to the $13.1 million and that was approved with all members voting in favor.

The board went with the base bids, alternate bid 4 which is acoustical linear panels on the gym ceiling and alternate bid 6, a minor window tinting bid.

The base bid includes the new gym, music room, fitness center, commons area, updated fire alarm system in high school and new propane tank.

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Halverson addresses school closure status

At the March 23 Special School Board meeting Superintendent Stacy Halverson updated the board on steps and plans the school administration and staff are working on during the current school shutdown as a result of the COVID-19.

“It changes hourly,” said Halverson. “On Monday, March 23, staff called families to see what kind of flex learning would work best for them, whether an online option or a packet option, and also to determine if they are missing people on the routes that would need food options.”

Halverson said right now there is an online option set up for everyone who has the capability to do that. If you go to the school’s website they have a link set up for COVID-19 and Curriculum and either one can take you to their flex curriculum. 

If you are unable to do things online, you can get a packet that can be taken home. Halverson said what they have set up is very similar to most of the state. 

“I anticipate this week is going to be a little roller coastery as we try to make sure that we have it for everyone,” said Halverson. “If you have questions, give us a call.”

“I am anticipating we are going to get at least another week, and I am really anticipating it’s probably going to be a long-term closure,” suggested Halverson. “We’ll have to wait and see what the governor says.” 

Gov. Noem had a press conference set for March 24 to discuss the direction she is going to take on school closure in the state.

Halverson said if they get everything set up and can send in notification on how they plan to provide school during the closure and can meet the minutes they need to meet, as she understands it, they are not going to be required to make it up. The five days prior to this, will be up to the board as to if they need to make it up.

“With the unknown, I think we need to have really flexible staff schedules,” said Halverson. “They’ve been great. Maybe come in to work one day and work from home three days. Safety, I think, of our people, is the most important thing.”

Halverson said she recommends to the board as they continue, to pay classified staff like any other time. State aid and federal money will continue to come in. She said to continue to pay them as long as they come in when they ask them to.

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School Board Election still on for April 14

The school board election set for April 14 is still planned. Voters are reminded that they can do absentee voting starting March 30 at the school business office.

See March 25, 2020, Issue for Full Article

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