2009-03-14 / Schools

Property purchase approved for school

By Charles Prince

BALTIMORE - Liberty Union Thurston School Board members agreed Monday night to spend up to $10,000 to purchase an approximately .16 acre tract from Faith Lutheran Church.

Superintendent Paul Mathews said there had been an error in the boundary between the church and district's property on South Main Street. That error has been resolved, but there is a small corner on the back of the church property that the district needs for the most cost effective site for the new middle school. Purchasing the corner gives the district the required setback from the property line, while also minimizing the cost to extend water and sewer to the new school. By allowing the school to be built closer to its northern property line, the district preserves more of its land lab and the new school won't affect the elementary play area.

Board members Art Brate and Mike Raver abstained from the vote. Mathews and district Treasurer David Butler have been authorized to execute the contract with the church. "They have been very good neighbors on this," Mathews said.

Mathews reported that a six phase plan to renovate the high school has been developed. Work will start in October and six to nine classrooms will be out of service at a time. Temporarily moving the fifth grade from the current middle school to the elementary school frees up five classrooms.

Board members unanimously approved an agreement with Kevin and Dannette Madduz to rent three office spaces at the adjacent Dedicated Mortgage office building. The cost is $500 per office per month for the nine month period beginning this September through May 2010. Each office would serve as a classroom. Mathews said several options were considered, but they raised cost, transportation and/or lunch issues. "We don't have any transportation issues and they can still eat here," he explained. Portable classrooms would be three to four times as expensive. "It may not be enough, but we know we need it," Mathews concluded.

The initial, but not final or official, results from the geothermal testing look promising, Brate reported. The key issue is the thermal exchange rate. The district hopes to use earth to both heat and cool the new middle school.

Junior Cody George and Sophomore Aaron Burnside were honored as students-of-the-month. George runs track, participates in Model UN and has perfect attendance. Burnside runs track and cross country, plays in the band, has a 4.0 average and is on student council.

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