Modular work

Monticello High School building trades students Grant McLearin, Cam Thomas and Dalton Harris take down temporary entries that were used for modular units at the school. With the facilities upgrade at the school nearly complete, the units will soon be gone.

Facilities project winding down

MONTICELLO — Tried-and-true traditions will not look the same this school year — if they happen at all — but school officials are doing their best to keep them alive.

Monticello High School’s prom is one example. High School Principal Adam Clapp told the school board last week that something is in the works.

The extent of any prom will be based on state gathering guidelines, which currently allow 25 percent capacity indoors but could soon rise to 60 percent during a “bridge” phase.

“The typical prom as we know it? It’s not going to look like that,” Clapp said.

But he thinks students deserve something after a challenging school year.

“This senior class didn’t have a prom last year. They didn’t have homecoming as seniors this year, so I really want to work to do something that’s memorable for those kids, because they’ve had so many things taken away from them,” Clapp said.

Middle School Principal Mark Hughes said an online version of the school’s annual talent show was provided in place of the large in-person one that is usually held.

“I do want to thank Mrs. (Nicki) Graham and Mrs. (Marissa) Brewer, because they found a way to have a virtual talent show,” Hughes said.

He admitted that, while it featured great performances by students and staff, it wasn’t quite the same as seeing it in person.

“It was a way to keep the spirit of the talent show alive for this school year, but I can tell you that we need to get rid of COVID and get this thing back,” Hughes said.

Facilities project

With most classes out of portable classrooms and construction trailers gone, the district’s $35 million facilities project is nearly complete.

Some of the last remaining items include concrete for a new playground at Washington Elementary and moving door security buzzers from outside fences to the entry doorways.

The construction project added a secured entry inside of Monticello High School, so the fence installed for security purposes in 2013 will eventually be taken down. The fencing on an outdoor walkway connecting the two schools will remain.

A last-second project to add weight room space in a former handball court resumed after initially being shelved last month. The original cost of raising the floor 10 feet to meet the level of the hallway was seen as too costly, but replacing steel with wood bracing underneath the new floor reduced the cost from more than $100,000 to just under $20,000.

“This is something that has been talked about for a long time,” School Superintendent Vic Zimmerman said.

Roof leaks are being repaired on the new Arthur “Buz” Sievers Center, and outdoor lettering will soon be added to the new gymnasium.

The school board approved a change order adding $17,014.99 to the project cost. It was used for more drywall in a new faculty restroom on the second floor of the original high school building.

Even with the addition, Zimmerman said the project should finish $750,000 below its budget.

Fate of Lincoln building

The Lincoln Elementary School building will no longer house students starting in 2021-22, but it will be the home to some offices next year while the district readies the building to be sold. Zimmerman said bids will be sought this fall for a delayed closing that would occur in the summer of 2022.

“My recommendation is to put it out to bid, probably in September or October with a minimum bid. If we get that minimum bid we can then consider whether to take that minimum bid. If we don’t get a minimum bid, we can sign up with a Realtor, and the Realtor has 120 days to try to sell the property on our behalf,” Zimmerman said.

Macon/Piatt special education offices, along with the Y-Zone programs will remain at Lincoln for at least one more school year.

The current construction project included the addition of a classroom wing at Washington Elementary, allowing the district to close Lincoln as a student attendance center this fall.

In other action, the board:

— hired a long list of personnel for an extensive summer school that will be offered in July. There will be a pair of two-week sessions held. Chelsi Thomas was hired a summer school principal and Chris Saldaris as assistant principal;

— also hired Jordan Barney, middle school head boys track coach; Kelsey Hill, middle school assistant girls track coach; Jenna Vaughan, Washington first grade teacher; Breanna Johnson, White Heath fourth grade teacher; Traesha McCool, Washington special education; Bridget Yeager, middle school assistant boys track coach;

— approved the resignations of Samantha Shores, middle school science teacher; and Rick Wilson, Washington Elementary cook;

— dismissed Dave Beery as high school girls basketball coach. He was first hired as coach in 2013-14;

— approved the retirements of Diana Meyer at the end of this school year; and Tana Espenschied at the end of the 2024-25 school year;

— approved volunteer coaches Lindsey Bross, middle school girls basketball; Caleb Hanson, high school football; and Willie High, high school football;

— approved first-year teachers to be rehired for a second year: Angie Anderson, Andrea Dunlap, Allyson Garrett, Carie Hughes, Anne Patterson, Kristin Pyatt, Kaitlynn Schable, Tara Stetson, Haley Yetter;

— approved second-year teachers to be rehired for a third year: Katie Fulton, Shayla Fountain, Christina Guarnieri, Elizabeth Maske, Amber Goebel, Jennifer Traynor, Hannah Murray, Megan Parsons, Brittney Ryan, Stephen Kirk;

— approved third-year teachers to be rehired for a fourth year: Christyn Biswell, Alicia Burge, Brad Curry, Lauren Klein, Alycia Mobery; and

— approved tenure for Allison Lanphear, Marissa Brewer, Bridge Yeager and Nicholas Walsh.

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