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Middle School construction could start May 1

BALTIMORE – Contractors may get approval by May 1 to start constructing the new middle school, architect Joe Schappa told Liberty Union Thurston school board members Monday night. “The building pad (built last summer) stood up well over the winter,” he reported.

Bids were opened March 9 with the five construction packages totalling $7,539,900, $572,409 or 7.1 percent below the estimates. It is taking longer to evaluate the apparent low bidders, Schappa said, since four of the five aren’t familiar to his firm or the project’s construction manager. References are being closely reviewed. A May 1 start would require a special board meeting to approve the contract awards.

Schappa said the first phase of the high school renovation project could be handed back to the school by the end of this week. “Everything is sort of coming together,” he added. Cleaning could begin by mid-week allowing students to return to the first floor area sometime next week. The attempt to jump start Phase 2 by turning over the gym to the contractor early didn’t work out, Schappa said. The plywood needed to protect the gym floor was still in use on another project.

In other business Monday night, board members recognized winter sport achievements. The girls junior varsity basketball team and coach Mark Chapman were honored as Mid-State League Champions. The team finished the season 19-0. Senior Pat Blevins was recognized as MSL varsity basketball Player-of-the-Year. “No one works harder,” Superintendent Paul Mathews said. Blevins was also the MSL leading scorer and was named second team all district.

Damien McAfee was honored for his 44-6 record as a wrestler and for qualifying for the state tournament. He was also named second team MSL.

Junior Klare Williamson was recognized as MSL Champion in the 100 meter backstroke. She also qualified for the state meet.

Senior Madison Lawhorn was honored as state champion in the 100 meter breaststroke. She is the fifth state individual champion at Liberty Union. Lawhorn also set the state record. She finished third in the state in the 100 meter butterfly. Mathews said she has a full scholarship for swimming in college.

Krista Mathews and Blake Smith were honored as the students of-the-month. Mathews is a senior and the daughter of Paul and Karen Mathews. She has received all A’s during her high school career. Mathews is a member of the National Honor Society and an Academic All-Ohio in Cross Country. She is a four year varsity member of the cross country, basketball and track teams.

Smith is a junior and the son of Michael and Melissa Smith. He is on the varsity football, wrestling and track teams. Smith is also a teacher’s aide.

Long-time teacher and coach Jim Reed was honored for 30 years of service as varsity golf coach. “He got the program started,” Mathews explained. “He is a teacher of students.”

Elementary school reading specialist Paula Connor was honored as the teacher-of-the-month. She is retiring at the end of the school year. “She has a state-wide reputation,” Mathews said. “A lot of children have benefited from her.”

Board member Mike Raver was honored for nearly 21 years service on the board. Mathews said Raver started helping with the Music Boosters and his involvement just grew from there.

After tabling the recommendation last month, board members unanimously employed George Shreyer as high school athletic director and R. Scott Williamson as junior high athletic director. The position of “athletic director” was added to the administrative salary schedule with the same pay scale as the assistant principal. Shreyer’s post is two-thirds full-time with a salary of $43,096.74. Williamson is one-third of full-time with a $21,516.07 salary. Billy Phillips was named boys varsity golf coach, replacing Reed.

Two retirements were approved. Elementary school prin- cipal Kelli Brownfield is retiring after 30 years of service. She is also requesting to be re-hired prior to next school year. A hearing on her request will be held in June.

Bus driver Mary Turley is also retiring and she will return next school year as a cook.

High school principal Ed Miller was approved for a new three year contract.

Board members also unanimously approved a revised wellness based on recommendations from the district Health Council. Changes include completing body mass index evaluations on students every two years through the 9th grade rather than annually. Reference to a walking program at the elementary school has been removed. “Walking to and from school will be encouraged” has been added to the policy as is, “Snack machine vendors will be replaced for the 2010/2011 school year. Machines will be stocked with healthy snacks.”

Board members also approved the pay-to-participate fee at the same level as last year. Fees for athletic programs in grades seven through 12 will be $80 per student, per sport. The fee for high school band is $35, $25 for high school vocal ensemble or high school chorus and $20 for Knowledge Bowl or the flag or majorette corps.

The next regular board meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Monday, May 10, in the high school library.

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