Asbestos presence looks to be minimal

Out of all of the areas tested for asbestos in early January in Holyoke School District’s Building Excellent Schools Today project, asbestos was found in only one area, according to Superintendent Kyle Stumpf at the Jan. 5 Board of Education meeting.

While these represent small samples, it’s indicative that there aren’t as many areas for concern as what could have been. Stumpf said it looks to be good news for the district’s project but won’t be official until they actually start the tear-down.

It is hoped that asbestos abatement can potentially be handled over a three-day weekend so actual construction can begin during spring break.

Project manager Ryan Smelker, with the Artaic Group, joined the school board meeting remotely to report on the status of the district project.

In addition to the asbestos testing by the environmental engineer, he noted that the Howell Construction/Wold Architect design build team is on board.

The BEST project for Holyoke School District targets secure entry and student safety and access improvements to address existing deficiencies in the JR/SR high.

More specifically, it covers provision for a new elevator to the gym floor, renovation of existing weight room and locker rooms, renovation of the high school main entry, moving the office closer to the front door, relocation of concessions, provision of a trainer’s suite, modification of accessible interior ramp to the old gym, accessible

exterior ramps to existing JH walkways and entrances, accessible seating in the auditorium and mechanical upgrades to the wrestling room.

Looking at January activity, Smelker said the first Site Accountability Team meeting for design was scheduled for Jan. 7. The plan was to include board members, teachers, students and other community members on the SAT committee. They will meet again Thursday, Jan. 21.

A long lead time will be needed for ordering the elevator for the project, and Smelker pointed out how crucial it is to make sure that the correct elevator is ordered to meet the required specifications. Needing 14-16 weeks lead time, the project plan targets Jan. 25 as the order date for the elevator.

Smelker projected a Feb. 5 deadline for the schematic design (30% design), March 15 for design development (70% design) and April 8 for construction documents due (100% design).

A budget summary for the $4,691,299 project and a master plan review detailing construction were also part of Smelker’s presentation to the board.

Stumpf said that, along with project cost updates, he would like to do a monthly report on local expenditures, including motel rooms, food, etc.

Stumpf also noted that Schneider Electric was on site Jan. 5. With regard to the energy project, it is anticipated that they could begin installing new lights in mid-February.


Gym renovation coming soon

Budget and Finance Director Ben Rahe reported on the gym renovation project that will be started soon.

He shared the sponsorship information that has been sent to businesses and how they will continue to solicit business sponsors for the project.

Stumpf pointed out that logos on the gym floor needed to be in place early so materials for the floor could be ordered.

However, other sponsors can still be added to meet the $350,000 fundraising goal. Anything raised beyond what is needed for the project will go back into reserve funds for the district.

Gold- and silver-level corporate sponsorships are available, as well as Dragon Club, Green Club and Gold Club memberships for individual sponsors.

Responding to a question about the orange ceiling beams, Rahe said they checked into it, but it would be very expensive to change the color.

Board member Dusty Sprague also said some community members might be interested in having pieces of the scoreboard, bleachers and/or floors when they’re torn out.

Stumpf said that is definitely something to get a game plan for. Rahe added that they will check with a school group to determine the potential interest in making benches from the old bleachers as a moneymaker.

It was noted early this week that the gym will be available for basketball games through Jan. 23, but after that, home games for the HHS and HJHS basketball teams will be played in the old gym.


Other business

In other business at last week’s meeting, the school board:

— Approved the retirement of vocal music instructor Marcia Dalton at the end of the current school year.

— Hired Cleofas Orona De Juarez as a full-time custodian at the elementary school for the 2020-21 school year.

— Reviewed the final October pupil count and demographics reported to the Colorado Department of Education for 2020-21. It noted 584 students in grades K-12 and a total FTE count of 605.5.

— Noted revisions in policies addressing substitute pay. Adjustments were made to the pay rates as follow: $105/day with a teaching certificate, $95/day without a certificate, $12.32/hour for hourly substitute positions.

— Gave first-reading approval for Colorado Association of School Boards’ policies and exhibits presented Dec. 10 and second-reading approval for policies and regulations presented Nov. 17.

­— Approved the parameter resolution for selling of the bonds from the bond election that was approved by voters of the school district Nov. 3.

— Designated the administration office as the official posting place for meeting notices of the board of education.

— Held a 31-minute executive session at the close of the meeting for principals’ evaluations and the superintendent’s contract.

Holyoke Enterprise

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