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District needs to buy more land from church

BALTIMORE – Liberty Union-Thurston School District needs to purchase twice as much property – from .2 acre to .4 acre- from Grace Lutheran Church than originally thought.

The confusion stems from a surveyor’s report that missed a boundary adjustment made in 1977 after the district purchased 15 acres on South Main Street in 1976. Last month, board members unanimously agreed to allow Superintendent Paul Mathews to offer up to $10,000 for .2 acres. With the additional land, the district can build the new middle school closer to the existing elementary school, significantly reducing the cost to extend utilities to the new school and manage storm water runoff.

Vice President Art Brate said two surveyors now agreed on the boundary. “It all makes sense when you read it all,” he added. Grace Lutheran had approved the sale at .2 acres and will look at it again this week.

Board members unanimously approved both the schematic design and design development phases Monday night for the new middle school and renovated high school. Both steps are required by the Ohio School Facilities Commission that is paying for 60 percent of the costs. The final step is the actual construction plans.

“We’re asking questions about literally everything being put in the buildings,” Mathews said. “Everybody is making their best effort to make sure we are getting what we need in these buildings.” Teachers, staff and board members have participated in the design process.

Mathews also outlined the athletic boosters’ efforts to create a 5-10 year facilities plan. The effort includes a review by an athletic facilities consultant. That report suggests creating a barrier around the current football stadium to address the current flooding problem. The home bleachers would be replaced, with locker rooms built under the new bleachers. The track would be expanded from six to eight lanes and the grass field replaced with artificial turf. The baseball and softball fields would be moved to the elementary/middle school complex. “We would go from play on it (football field) as little as possible to play on it as much as possible,” Mathews explained with the field turf installation. The plans are very conceptual at this point.

In other business Monday night, board members accepted the resignation of high school language arts teacher Rebecca McNeese. Megan Driscoll, an Ohio University/Ashland University graduate, was hired to teach high school English next year. Two three-year administrative contracts were approved:

• Kelli Brownfield – elementary principal; and

• Chet Coleman – assistant high school principal.

A revised Wellness Policy was briefly reviewed. The District Health Council meet last month to make its annual recommendations for wellness goals. Recommendations, which the board will consider at its May 11 meeting, include:

• Encourage student walking and bicycle riding activities through physical education classes. Create walking incentive rewards.

• Develop a district transportation plan which would encourage student walking and/or bicycling to and from school.

• Community members will be invited to participate if there is enough interest in a weight loss class.

• The possibly of a community health fair, coinciding with a large community event will be explored.

• Beverage Machines: Water, flavored water and sports drinks only will be available to elementary students; Water and flavored water only will be offered in the middle school during the school day; High school students will have water, flavored water, juices, sports drinks and diet soda available – students will be encouraged to limit soda purchases to just one per day.

• There shall be no fundraising sales which are primarily candy-oriented.

Board members also approved the district’s Pay-to-Participate program. Fees at $80 per sport are unchanged from last year. There is no cap or family limit. Fees for other activities are:

• High school band – $35; • Knowledge Bowl – $20; • High school vocal ensemble – $25; • Flag or majorette corps – $20; and

• High school chorus – $25.

Refunds won’t be issued for students who quit an activity or are dismissed from the team or group.

The meeting opened with Moments of Silence in memory of board President Kevin Byers’ son senior Nick Byers who passed away on April 5.

Two juniors were honored as the students of-the-month. Ariel Frasure, daughter of Brad and Tabitha Frasure, is a honor roll student, tutor and choir member. Beth Winchell, daughter of Mike and Judy Winchell, is an honor roll student, varsity soccer and track team member and stage manager for the Seussical musical.

Junior Madison Lawhorn was honored for achieving All-Ohio status as a swimmer. She is Liberty Union’s only All-Ohio athlete for winter sports. She had two All-Ohio finishes at the state meet and was also named Fairfield County Swimmer of the Year.

Teacher Emily Fisher was recognized for directing Seussical, the district’s first musical in some 25 years. “It was a fantastic performance,” Mathews told her.

Kindergarten teacher Debbie Reckziegel was selected by her fellow teachers as Teacher-of-the-Month. Mathews said the district’s all day, every day kindergarten receives the most requests for out-of-district enrollment.

The board’s next regular meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Monday, May 11, in the high school library.

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