Jefferson West board lets bid on football stadium lighting
by Clarke Davis
The Jefferson West school board has approved a bid of $147,800 for new stadium lighting at the football field.
The contract went to Torgeson Electric Co., Topeka, who submitted the lowest of three bids. There will be another expense of $13,000 from Westar Energy.
The money is part of the $3.6 million bond package approved by district voters in April.
The next step is to let a bid for the technology infrastructure upgrades at all district buildings. Superintendent Pat Happer was meeting with firms who have submitted bids last week to make comparisons before they go to the school board.
“I want to know what the ongoing fees will be after the installation,” he said.
Most of these involve wireless upgrades and improving the filter or firewall and will cost approximately $120,000.
Happer said 120 laptop computers for students and 65 similar devices for staff will be ordered for the start of school along with at least 300 iPads.
He said he’d like for every high school student to have an iPad. Ordering more will depend on budget figures.
Whether or not they are up and running the first day of school will depend on the infrastructure upgrades, but Happer said they will be in use most of the fall semester.
He said iPads are a useful teaching tool at all grade levels and for all subjects and access to them will be expanded as money is available.
Topeka architect Robert Hansen is working on the electrical upgrades for the middle school and the addition of air conditioning in portions of buildings that need it. He will also design the new concession stand and locker room facilities at the football field, but that is a few months away.
The board approved changes for fifth-grade students this fall, who will first report to the elementary building before going to their home room at the middle school.
Happer explained that there was a problem last year providing these students with physical education, music, art, and computer lab at the middle school. This year, the fifth-graders will spend the first hour at the elementary building for two 30-minute sessions dealing with these subjects and then be bussed to the middle school.
The Masonic Lodge building in downtown Meriden, which was once given to the district, will be given back.
Under various plans floated in recent years, the district thought the building might prove beneficial, but it was only used for storage. Under the agreement, the Masons retained the right to use the upstairs for their meeting lodge. Happer said he will be talking to members of the lodge with the intent of returning the title of the building to them.
The 340 board agreed to pay over $7,000 to assist the Keystone Learning Center in making repairs to the roof at the Ozawkie school building. The building has been leased by USD 340 to the special education cooperative, who is responsible for the repairs, however the Jefferson West district does utilize the building for indoor baseball practice and locker space for the baseball team. The roof repairs will cost the cooperative about $67,000.
Happer reports that the district ended its fiscal year June 30 with less than 1 percent of its budget unspent and available for transfers.
Transfers consisted of moving $50,000 to the capital outlay fund, $30,000 to the contingency fund, and $20,000 to the staff development fund.
The superintendent said the school budget is still tight, that the state has taken away $633 per student in base aid in recent years and gave only $58 back in the last legislative session.
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