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NH Middle School ‘changing shape’ daily

NH Middle School ‘changing shape’ daily
NH Middle School ‘changing shape’ daily
Masonry work continues this week on the new classroom wing of North Harrison Middle School. Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor

The North Harrison Middle School is ‘changing shape every day,’ Les Smith told the board of trustees of the North Harrison Community School Corp. during its regular meeting July 14. ‘It’s amazing how much it’s changed in two days.’
‘We’re starting to put it back together for classes,’ said Smith, who is overseeing the renovation project for James L. Shireman Inc. in Corydon. ‘We’ll have to get an inspection, make sure it’s acceptable by the fire marshal.’
The first day of classes for students will be Aug. 9. (There will be an open house at all North Harrison schools from 6 to 8 p.m. on Aug. 8. The office entrance for the middle school is on the west side of the existing building.)
Smith said classroom doors are being taped shut to help keep out dust from the ongoing work. Blinds will be put up on the new windows to keep glare off classroom smartboards.
The middle school project includes constructing a two-story wing to replace the existing classrooms in the structure, built in 1954, that once served as the high school.
The second floor slab is poured and finished,’ Smith said, ‘and we’re prepping the slab for the office area. All before school starts. … Probably 80 percent of what’s going on is masonry.’
Other work taking place includes electrical, plumbing and HVAC.
When the project is completed in September 2017, there also will be a new cafeteria. (Supt. D. John Thomas said yesterday afternoon that middle school students will have lunch this semester in the existing cafeteria, with work on the new cafeteria set to begin in January.)
‘There’s a lot of changing and rearranging of walls in the existing building,’ Smith said.
To Thomas’ question if they were on schedule, Smith replied, ‘Yes, we are.’
Mark Shireman, of Shireman Construction, talked briefly about the music room and shop area, saying it’s in the design stage. He has asked the contractors already working on the renovation project to give a price for that area of the building.
(Shireman told Thomas yesterday afternoon that beginning Friday all work on the two-story wing will be suspended to allow time to get other parts of the building ready for school.)
Hal E. Kovert, with Kovert Hawkins architects, the same company that handled the Morgan Elementary School renovation project, said that was something added later to the budget but replacing the ceiling and lights would give the area a new look like the rest of the building.
‘It looks like you’re $100,000 under budget,’ school trustee Steve Hanger commented. ‘That’s great.’
Kovert added that they were able to work in a new concession stand in the area, too.
‘I’d like to see those (drawings) before I say anything,’ school board member Gary Byrne said.
To assistant superintendent Lance Richards’ question about whether the project would be held up in anyway if the school board waited until its August meeting to give approval, Kovert said no.
‘What about bathrooms in the gym?’ Byrne asked.
‘That’s a good question,’ Shireman said. ‘Where to start and where to stop.’
Kovert added they wouldn’t do any work on it until next summer.
The board decided to have a work session prior to next month’s regular meeting, on Aug. 11 at 7 p.m., to discuss any additional work to have done.
‘My goal is to know what the costs are going to be and what needs to be done now,’ Byrne said.
Thomas said the bids for the project had come in ‘very well’ and there would be some money left for contingencies.
This was Thomas’ first meeting in several months. He had back surgery earlier in the year.
‘It’s great to be back,’ he said. ‘This is the best board to work with, and I’ve worked with four school corporations.’
Thomas said he was looking forward to visiting each classroom in all buildings of the school corporation.
Thomas also complimented Richards for filling during his absence.
‘He did call me if he had any questions,’ Thomas said.
The board approved a memorandum of understanding between the school corporation and Blue River Services Inc. to provide a preschool program for 4-year-olds who reside in the school district.
Lisa Jones, principal of North Harrison Elementary School, said, since the program’s inception two years ago, a ‘black and white difference’ is noticeable between children who attended the preschool and those students who didn’t when they enter kindergarten.
Some even have gone into kindergarten reading,’ she said. ‘All certainly go in knowing letters.’
Jones said there are eligibility requirements that must be met to participate and, of those eligible, it’s a first-come, first-served basis.
‘People are beginning to expect schools to have this program,’ she added.
The program, which allows for 36 students ‘ 18 each at North Harrison and Morgan elementary schools ‘ is made possible by funding from the Harrison County Community Foundation.
In other business, the board:
Approved a grant from the Harrison County Community Foundation, in the amount of $16,219.18, for the 21st Century Scholars Enrollment Incentive Program. Richards said it’s important for students to sign up for the program when they are in the eighth grade.
Approved for the school corporation to pay 50 percent of each student’s textbook fee from its riverboat funds. The estimated cost for this is $82,000, Thomas said.
Accepted resignations from Tim Martin as middle school science teacher and Tony Rowe as high school summer school teacher.
Approved appointments of Amy Woodward as summer school teacher and Joanna DeWit as middle school science teacher.
Approved the appointments for JoAnn Burson (corporation treasurer), Judy Jeffries (assistant treasurer) and Kathy Chinn (extracurricular treasurer).
Approved the adoption, following two readings, of the policies for Internal Controls and Criminal Gangs and Criminal Gang Activity in Schools.
Approved the AdTec agreement for 2017.
Awarded the milk bid to Prairie Farms Dairy and the bread product bid to Aunt Millie’s.
Had the first reading of the amended policy on Criminal History Information for the school corporation.