Some of the first fruits of the Monticello school construction project’s labor should be seen as soon as next semester in the form of a renovated pit gym and completion of the extensive auditorium work.

“So the pit gym, we’re planning on using it the second semester,” Superintendent Vic Zimmerman told the school board on Oct. 16. The gym is being converted into chorus and agriculture classrooms, with one of the final tasks being the installation of rooftop air conditioning units.

The auditorium, complete with extended stage, permanent seating and addition of a balcony, may not be ready at the start of January, but should be in use for the high school musical Feb. 20-23.

“I don’t think that will be a problem,” said Construction Manager Chris Uhlarik, although he said it is an intensive project that has “so much work going on” each and every day.

New spaces going up as part of the construction work – including the 1,500-seat gymnasium, added classrooms at Washington Elementary, and the two-story high school science lab addition – should be complete by the start of school next year, with renovations taking another year after that.

Uhlarik said work on the gymnasium is behind schedule due to issues with precast panels, but that the science lab is ahead of initial expectations.

“In the overall scheme, we’re speeding up on other things, so I would say we’re on schedule overall because of what we’ve been able to accomplish and speed up like mechanical rooms,” said Uhlarik.

Joists for the roof of the gymnasium are being installed, a process that should be complete by the end of October. Underground work is also ongoing for that portion of the project.

The board also included a change order that actually saves about $5,000 on the cost of the project.

High School Principal Adam Clapp said interest in scoreboard sponsorships for the new gym is high, with seven entities already expressing interest in signing up for that opportunity.

Maintenance work

The exterior brickwork of Moore Gymnasium will be spruced up with repointing/tuckpointing work, which will replace damaged mortar. The effort will cost about $135,000. If maintained properly, it can help insure the exterior life of the space for decades.

Board members also approved the purchase of a new tractor for the maintenance department to replace one that is nearly 20 years old.

The John Deere 317G compact track loader will be purchased for $41,498 from AHW in Monticello.

Zimmerman also told the board the district expects a 22 percent increase in health insurance premiums. The cooperative of several schools has kept increases in the single digits percentage-wise for several years, but a large number of claims will boost premiums starting

Jan. 1.

It also triggered a health insurance committee, which agreed employees will cover the difference between the $625 the school district pays for individual policy holders and the $666 monthly premiums. Accommodations were also made to the high deductible option that is available to school employees.

In other action, the board:

–heard the annual Sages Strut fundraiser raised $30,000;

–approved the resignations of: Ashley Adams, high school long-term French teacher substitute; Adam Rosenbery, middle school girls track coach; and Kari Trybom, middle school special education aide;

–approved the hiring of: Teri Coleman, Lincoln Elementary long-term substitute Pre-K teacher; Elizabeth Galbo, Washington Elementary long-term substitute special education teacher; Betty Kolakowski, Lincoln Elementary long-term substitute Pre-K teacher and 1st grade teacher; and Nick Stokowski, seventh grade boys basketball coach;

–approved the retirement of Christie Summers, accounts payable at the unit office; and

–approved Megan Smoes as a volunteer high school cheerleading coach