Mitchell school board OK's contract for new MTI Trades Center, iPads for middle-schoolersThe board approved bidding contracts totaling $12.2 million for the Trades Center building at Mitchell Technical Institute.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
A shorthanded Mitchell Board of Education approved a general contractor for the multi-million dollar Trades Center building at Mitchell Technical Institute, gave the go-ahead to buy iPad computers for Mitchell Middle School next year and got a first look at the district’s general fund budget for 2012-2013.
Theresa Kriese presided over Monday’s meeting at MTI’s north campus in the absence of board President Brenda Freidel, who was ill, and board member Neil Putnam, who was in Washington, D.C., representing the Associated School Boards of South Dakota.
The board approved Superintendent Joe Graves’ recommendation of a $5,268,400 bid from Gil Haugan Construction, of Sioux Falls, for general contracting duties on the new $18.5 MTI Trades Center.
All told, the board approved bidding contracts totaling $12.2 million on Monday. Bid packages for heating ventilation and air conditioning and electrical work still must be collected. President Greg Von Wald said that glass bids, which were disappointingly high, will be re-bid.
Puetz Corp., of Mitchell, will provide architecture and construction management services for the project at a cost of $982,512.
The board approved Haugan’s low bid, despite technical irregularities in its submission. The $5,268,400 was, due to a computer glitch, initially transmitted as $268,400.
Wayne Puetz said Haugan’s bid, unlike bids on some lesser contracts, met all technical specifications for the bidding, but the numeral five was changed to a dollar sign during transmission.
Von Wald said such last-minute electronic bid transmissions have become commonplace as bidders wait until the last minute to double-check the cost of materials.
The only other general contract bid on the project was from Sunkota Construction, of Sioux Falls, for $5,517,000.
Technology Director Dan Muck said the 1:1 Middle School Technology Committee has recommended replacing the Dell laptops at the middle school with iPad2s for the next three school years.
The board approved the purchase of approximately 450 to 475 iPad2s.
Muck said the iPads were chosen because of cost — $458, compared with $829 for a Dell laptop — and because the unit, at 1.6 pounds to the Dell’s 6 pounds, is also lighter and well-accepted by kids.
“Service should be interesting with the two platforms,” said Muck, but he believes service demands for the new iPads will be less, at least initially.
This doesn’t signal a wholesale swing to Apple products, said Muck.
The Dell laptops will stay at the high school for one more year and the middle school laptops will be sent to the high school to be used as extras and replacements.
Next year, the district will consider a shift to new tablet computers, which will operate under a new Windows 8 system, he said. Both systems will position the district for the future use of more Web-based computer systems and applications.
Business Manager Steve Culhane gave the board a first peek at the district’s $14.525 million budget for the 2012-2013 school year.
The budget is $468,164 more than this year’s budget and also includes the same $350,000 opt-out, and uses $245,000 in reserves.
The budget also includes a one-time increase in state aid amounting to $172,000, which will be put toward teacher salaries.
“If we don’t use the one-time money during negotiations, then we would come to the negotiations with no money,” said Superintendent Graves. “That would make negotiations very simple — and very difficult.”
The board also:
* Recognized four Mitchell High School Future Business Leaders of America students who scored well at the recent state convention and will compete in June at the FBLA national convention in San Antonio, Texas. Miranda Goldammer will compete in the job interview competition; and Alyssa Honermann, Megan Roth, and Jenna Neugebauer will compete in digital video production. The trio’s video on texting and driving earned them the trip to Texas.
* Approved the following personnel items:
Retirement: Sharon Johnson. MHS art, effective at the end of the school year.
Resignations: Kathy Digerness, custodian, MTI, effective May 12; Kendra Widstrom, MHS math, effective end of the school year.
Extracurricular resignation: Ralyna Schilling, Middle School musical, pending finding a suitable replacement.
New hires: Carli Ellwein, MHS, language arts, B.A., $33,000 a year; Carrie Fickbohm, third grade, Longfellow Elementary, M.A., $38,525 a year; Melissa Temple, MHS math and special education, B.A., $33,000 a year; Leslie Warnke, MHS, language arts, B.A., $33,000 a year; Melanie Zinter, MHS math, $33,000 a year, also as assistant debate coach, an extra-curricular assignment, $3,666; Sharon Johnson, part-time art instructor, MHS, $10,000 a year — all effective for the 2012-2013 school year; Lori Repenning, MTI ag instructor, $18,656 (pro-rated), effective April 16.
* Approved a budget supplement for MTI totaling $137,000 from a Department of Labor grant.
* Approved a resolution declaring video tapes and other items as surplus so that they may be sold.
* Approved changes and updates to the Mitchell High School handbook for the 2012-2013 school year.
* Approved the request of Activities Director Geoff Gross and Gymnastics Coach Audra Rew to rename the Mitchell Gymnastics Invitational Tournament the “Jill McCormick Gymnastics Invitational.” McCormick was Mitchell’s gymnastics coach from 1984 until 1987, when she died en route to a gymnastics meet in Pierre.