Projects near completion at WCCSD facilities

Several construction projects at Webster City schools have been completed and some work is almost finished, according to Webster City School District Superintendent Mike Sherwood.

During the district board of director’s meeting on Monday evening, Sherwood updated board members on the construction projects which began at the beginning of summer break. Several items including the installation of cabinets, countertops and sinks at Pleasant View and Sunset Heights Elementary Schools have been completed. Additional work on installing LED exterior lighting at those schools has also ended, as Sherwood said the lighting outside of the schools was poor before this construction work.

“For example, if you drove by Pleasant View at night, the window side by the playground was completely dark,” Sherwood said. “There should be better exterior lighting on all our buildings now.”

Safe surface installation at both Pleasant View and Sunset Heights will begin Wednesday and is expected to be completed this week, with work at Pleasant View expected to be completed first. Work on boiler rooms and air conditioning is still ongoing. Sunset Heights has seen more work on flooring following removal of portions of hallway cement to complete pipe work. Tiling work is also expected to be finished on Monday night. Sherwood said the only area that won’t be completed is by the main doors, which will wait for renovation until next year.

“The reason we’re going to wait until next summer because the main entrance doors at Sunset need to be replaced. They’re in bad shape,” Sherwood said. “There’s no sense in tearing all that out to replace them and putting them back in.”

Work is also continuing at Webster City High School. While the school has considered installing about 130 new lockers in a renovated hallway near the Prem Sahai Auditorium, Sherwood said that the school’s policy of having one locker for every student may no longer be necessary. He said some students say they don’t need a locker, and he also said that the iPad rollout may cause other students to forgo a locker.

With that in mind, Sherwood asked board members what they would think of removing lockers near the high school entrance and installing more displays. He said that renovation would be nicer than a bustling hallway for community members and parents to encounter when then enter the school.

As the heat of summer continues, Sherwood also said he had an estimate of $2.5 million to air condition the areas of district facilities that do not have it. He said the number would change depending on how they implemented the air conditioning, using a large chiller, room units or something else.

Talking about long term plans, Sherwood said the priorities for next year’s summer renovations include the high school science labs, high school restrooms and fine arts areas.

“We’ll see how far the money will take us and what else we can do,” Sherwood said.

During the meeting, the board also approved pay lane changes for sixteen teachers at the school. Sherwood said that teachers move up pay grades as they advance in credit hours and from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree. Nine of those teachers have a bachelor’s degree and have earned between 10 and 30 credit hours above that degree. Five district teachers have earned their masters and two who already have their masters have earned 30 hours beyond that degree. The total cost of those pay lane changes is $23,163, according to Sherwood.

Board President Pam Hayes said she was impressed when Sherwood noted that the district has 31 teachers on staff with masters degrees, which makes up 23 percent of the district’s teaching staff.

In other items, Sherwood said that an invitation to Northeast Hamilton School District Superintendent Larry Frakes to the School Improvement Advisory Committee was well received. Sherwood asked board members to provide him with people who they think would also be interested in joining the committee. Sherwood also said he is looking for more minority and special needs representation on the board, which is currently required to be balanced by gender.

The board also approved a request from the Spanish Club for fundraising. The club hopes to raise $800 from the sale of butter braids for their activities and scholarships.

The next board meeting is scheduled on Oct. 14 at the Administration Office.