South Putnam board discusses summer activities

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The South Putnam School Board is wasting no time as it begins preparing for the upcoming school year. During a special meeting held Monday, the board discussed everything from an additional parking lot to new kitchen equipment to help with the increase of students.

Maintenance Supervisor Jim Samsel spoke to the board on various activities he hopes to complete this summer including addressing the brick on the high school and adding a new parking lot.

Samsel addressed what appears to be a never-ending issue of the brick on the high school, as many of the faces are coming off. After speaking with several different brick experts, the board is no closer to receiving a definite answer as to why this is happening.

"We're way past repairing, we've let this go to an extent now that we're way past repairing. That brick is shot," said board member Wesley Hacker. "There's too large of an area that's bad to start repairing. I think it's just a brick problem."

Board members noted that there is no certain pattern in which the bricks are popping. After speaking to several experts and gathering ideas there is no common thread that they have found.

"Everybody can give you an idea (of what's wrong), but nobody can give you a definitive answer," said Superintendent Bruce Bernhardt.

Samsel was asked to have a structural engineer come in to look at the building itself. The board will then try to address the worst areas first and possibly begin looking at alternative materials in hopes of cutting costs.

"We need to hit this hard," said Nancy Well. "This is gone on for a while."

The board has approved the addition of an expansion parking lot to be built before the upcoming school year. The lot will be gravel and include nearly 45 parking spaces. Gravel will be used in hopes of cutting costs if the board decides to eventually pave it.

"I don't think it's nearly adequate," explained Samsel. "This is just a little stop gap. I don't think we have enough space without major excavating and funding."

The new parking lot will help with the increase of traffic along with helping with the parking situation during special events like Grandparents Day, graduation and sporting events.

The total cost of the addition will be $25,000.

Samsel is also hoping to address the lighting problem at Central Elementary due to an increase of costs of repairing the existing lights.

"The lights that we have now are very expensive to maintain," said Samsel. "I recommend that we would change those out to an LED light, which is becoming very popular and economical."

Currently, it is costing nearly $130 to replace one of the older fixtures. With the new fixtures the cost savings would be nearly 68 percent.

The board approved Samsel to fix the 30 older fixtures with new LED fixtures at a total of $6,870. Payback for LED lights is a little over two years and they are said to be maintenance free for over 10 years.

Anna Beth Smith of the kitchen staff made a presentation to the board as she prepares to purchase a new walk-in cooler and freezer, which will go on the outside of Central Elementary. Smith also plans to purchase a double oven along with a steamer.

The equipment is needed due to the increase of students. In an effort to reduce costs, the current oven in Central Elementary will be taken over to Fillmore.

"I've tried to keep the cafeteria in good shape while feeding a lot of kids," said Smith. "I've got everything situated where I'd like it to go."

The total cost of the equipment will be $34,507 and will be purchased from B & B in Terre Haute. The money will be taken out of the cafeteria fund.

The board agreed to the purchase of the equipment, however Smith was asked to get more bids on the cement work, which will be needed for the installation of the outdoor freezer and cooler.

The Reelsville Fire Department made a presentation to the board seeking approval to move forward with plans to install a new septic system.

Fire Chief John McPherson along with the county has been working on drawing up the plans in hopes of getting things moving before the school corporation shuts off the system at Reesville.

The new system would include a residential line, as there is not enough usage to support a commercial system. The line would run along the side of the fire department, however the school corporation owns the land.

The county has already approved the plans and has sent them to the state for approval.

The board made no decision on the plans as they wait for the attorney to look them over, but they will look for approval at the next board meeting in two weeks.

It is expected for the new line to be installed in mid-July after the Youth League has completed its season.

The board agreed to purchase two new 72 passenger transportation buses. The total cost of the buses is $180,014, but by trading in four old buses the cost will be $129,514.

"You don't want to get stuck having old buses," said Bernhardt. "We don't want to get in a position where we're having to replace several buses at once."

The buses to be traded in are all 12 to 13 years old.

The following personnel items were approved during the meeting, the resignation of high school math teacher Ryan Gilman; the hiring of Jeff Duvall as the new high school math teacher along with the reduction in force of Emily Reitzel, a Fillmore teacher.

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