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Push is on to complete new middle school

BALTIMORE – Work on the new Liberty Union-Thurston Schools administration building is expected to start soon. Bids were opened on May 17.

School board members approved four contracts Monday night. Drummond Construction Inc. was awarded a $324,8000 contract for general trades. After the two lowest bidders on the electrical contract were allowed to withdraw their bids because they had omitted a significant quantity of work, board members awarded a $93,000 contract to Ingle Barr Inc. The withdrawn bids were for $85,490 and $89,500 respectively. Command Heating, Inc. received a $51,696 contract for heating and cooling. Crawford

Mechanical Services was the low bidder for the plumbing contract at $33,900. The new building will be constructed on the elementary/middle school campus off Ohio 158.

Architect Joe Schappa updated board members on the now nearly completed high school renovation and the push to complete the new middle school in time for the start of school in August.

Contractors missed the goal to have air conditioning on in the new middle school by June 1. It came on June 6 and 7. “We’re beginning to dry the building out,” Schappa explained. He added that the general contractor was given a five-day notice to get the roof finished or get someone else to get it done. He expects the roof work will finally be finished Friday.

The schedule is “still tight” to have the new school ready when students return in late August, Schappa said. Bids for the new turn lane on southbound Ohio 158 into the elementary/middle school campus are due June 21. The estimated cost is $191,000. The bids require that the portion of the new lane in front of the schools be complete by August 15. The new lane will extend northward past Christ United Methodist Church.

Bids for the new maintenance building will go out next week. They will be due July 5 or 6. Schappa expects the bids to demolish the old middle school with the exception of the now renovated auditorium will go out in early July.

In other business Monday night, a “great spring” created a long list of students and teams to be honored by the board. Two eighth graders – Ethan Schmelzer and Autumn Fickel – were recognized for making it to the state science fair. Fickel received a superior rating.

For the second year in a row, now freshman Alex Carrico received a perfect score and superior rating at the state science fair. His showing earned him a $15,000 scholarship from Ohio Wesleyan University.

The high school choral, directed by Emily Fisher, received the school’s first ever superior rating at the state Ohio Music Educators Association competition. The group also received a superior for sight reading.

The high school concert band voluntarily moved up to compete in Class B this year and still brought home another superior rating at the state OMEA competition.

The boys track team, coached by Krista Azeltine, were recognized as MidState League cochampions. Junior pole vaulter Garrett Mathias were recognized for making it to the state track meet. Senior pole vaulter Nick Richardson received All- Ohio honors in track & field.

Senior baseball players Landon Hutchison and Shane Snyder were MidState League co-Players -of-the-Year. Snyder was also named to the first team All- Ohio baseball.

The varsity softball team, coached by Bill Putnam, Doug Mix and Monica Mix, were honored as the state runner up in Division III. “We’ve never had a softball team get this far,” Superintendent Paul Mathews said.

Senior catcher Megan VanAlmisk was named to the third team All-Ohio Softball for the second year in a row. Junior pitcher Sarah Klopfer was named first team All-Ohio Softball for the second year in a row.

Students-of-the-month were senior Travis Runyon Jr., son of Donna and Travis Runyon and junior Jessica McCormick, the daughter of Tom and Jacquie McCormick. Runyon was a fouryear member of he high school football team and also ran varsity track. He will be attending OSUNewark this fall.

McCormick plays first base on the varsity softball team and also plays varsity volleyball. She is on student council, Leo Club and serves as assistant vice president of the FFA. She also shows livestock at the Fairfield County Fair.

In his report, Treasurer David Butler said real estate tax receipts were up $45,000 this school year versus last year. School income tax receipts were up versus his estimate last July, but still some $200,000 down per year from the peak. Investment income is also down some $100,000 from its peak now several years ago.

Board members unanimously agreed to buy a new 61-passenger handicap accessible school bus. The district received a $25,000 grant in leftover stimulus funds from the Ohio Department of Education. “That’s $25,000 we didn’t have,” Butler said. That grant could have been $60,000 if the district had guaranteed that the bus would be exclusively used by handicapped students. The district could not make that guarantee. The total cost of the bus is $87,000.

School lunch prices will be going up 5¢ next school year. The US Department of Agriculture required the increase. “We’re just doing the minimum 5¢,” supervisor Jan Fredericks explained. “We”ll have to do it for five years.”

Reduced price lunch students will be continue to receive a free breakfast and they will pay $0.40 for lunch. Breakfast will be $1.10 for all other students and $1.50 for adults. Elementary students will now pay $2.20 for lunch with middle and high school students pays $2.45. Adults will pay $3 for lunch.

Eight draft Board of Education policies were presented to board members. One is a deletion based on a change in state law. The most controversial one is the Home Instruction policy. Parents of two students who are seeking consideration for part-time options for home-schooled students asked that it be reviewed. The policy currently deems that home schooled students are considered to have withdrawn from enrollment in the district and are not “eligible to participate in any of the student services, programs or activities of the District…” “Some districts allow part-time participation,” Mathews said.

All eight policies will be placed on the agenda for the board’s July 11 meeting for formal approval.

In personnel actions, board members accepted the resignation for retirement of high school science teacher Edmond A. LeBlanc.

Supplemental contracts were approved for:

• Renee Mangete for junior high cross country, middle school student council and varsity girls track;

• Britt Tisdale for Flag Corps advisor;

• Jay Fant for band assistant;

• Joe Muck and Kevin Yates for 6th grade outdoor education;

• Debbie Young and Lisa Feyko for co-junior class advisor;

• Cathy Poston for honor society advisor;

• Debbie Young for Knowledge Bowl coach;

• Ashleigh Miller for high school student council;

• Erin Rodriguez for middle

Model UN advisor and spellling bee advisor;

• Tonya Ransbottom for 6th grade outdoor education; and

• Kevin King and Holly Lavender for co-Science Fair chair.

The next regular board meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Monday, July 11, at the Liberty Union Land Lab behind the elementary school off Ohio 158.

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