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Mitchell school board to approve architect for fine arts center

The Mitchell Board of Education is expected to approve MSH Architects, of Sioux Falls, as the architectural firm for the proposed fine arts center for the Mitchell School District tonight.

Approval of the contract would allow the the school to begin design work on the building, estimated to cost the district $13.5 million.

The school board will meet tonight in regular session at 5 p.m. at the Mitchell Career and Technical Education Academy building.

According to the board's agenda, the district's request for proposal resulted in interest from six firms and four firms submitted three bids. In addition to MSH, Architecture, Inc., of Sioux Falls and Puetz Corporation, of Mitchell, submitted a joint bid. FEH Associates, of Des Moines, Iowa, also bid on the project.

Many of the details, including cost and completion date, in the proposed contract between the school district and MSH are redacted.

A committee of Superintendent Joe Graves, school board President Theresa Kriese and other school officials made the decision to recommend the firm. That unanimous decision was based on experience building fine arts facilities, fees, references and experience meeting budgets.

Graves has previously stated the district's need for a quality fine arts facility, calling the project "overdue." The proposed project would include a new theater seating more than 1,200 and have room for choir, band and drama programs to practice and perform.

Existing capital outlay funds are expected to be used to pay for the project, according to Graves.

Quintal scoreboard to be approved

The board will consider purchasing a new scoreboard for Joe Quintal Field at a cost of $210,000, with most of the money already in line for that purchase.

The district will pay for a third of the cost, or about $70,000, from capital outlay funds. Corporate sponsorships from eight area businesses and donations from two other entities bring the total amount raised to $197,500. The school expects to fundraise the final $12,500 needed to complete the project and will cover that with additional advertising revenue and donations.

Brookings-based Daktronics was the only company to bid on the project.

The board will include message and video capabilities. The school originally set out to purchase a scoreboard that would have the message capabilities only but the school said it was able to secure a higher quality scoreboard with video capabilities at no extra cost.

Middle school principal change

Mitchell Middle School will have a new principal next school year, following the departure of Brad Berens and the hire of Justin Zajic, pending board approval Monday night.

Berens will leave for a job with the Rapid City Area Schools system as an assistant superintendent. He has been the middle school principal since 2003-04 and prior to that, he was Mitchell High School's director of bands for 11 years. He was also a finalist for the superintendent position in Yankton in 2013. His last day will be June 30.

Zajic is familiar with Mitchell Middle School, after teaching seventh and eighth grade social studies at the school since 2008 and was named the school teacher of the year in 2012. In 2012-13, he joined Dakota Wesleyan as an assistant professor of education. He will make $65,000 per year, if the hire is approved.

The district also plans to hire Brittney Eide as middle school assistant principal. She is currently an English teacher and volleyball coach in the Corsica School District. She replaces Lisa Heckenlaible, who is the new principal at Longfellow Elementary School.


Other personnel moves include:

• New hires (summer help): Megan Sheppard, summer help, $10 per hour; Carrie Gross, summer help custodian, $10.50 per hour.

• New hires (classified): Barb Myers as Longfellow building secretary, eight hours per day at $13.50 per hour, effective Aug. 5; Travis Schubauer as computer aide, $11 per hour (.5 FTE), effective 2014-15 school year; Hallie Tate as middle school mass customized learning and para educator, eight hours per day at $25 per hour, effective Aug. 18.

• Resignations: Stacey Eddy as MTI wind program instructor, effective May 20; Gayle Norwick as LBW Food Service employee, effective end of school year; Brad Berens as middle school principal effective June 30.

• Transfer (extra-curricular): Walt Moody to assistant varsity football coach effective 2014-15 school year.

• Transfer: Cheryl L. Phillips from senior high library aide to receptionist/secretary in the business office, effective August 2014.

• Change in teaching percentage: Renea Schoenfelder, increase 0.1 FTE, effective 2014-15 school year.

• New hires (certified): Brittney Eide, middle school assistant principal at $55,000 effective for the 2014-15 school year; LeeAnn Overbay, seventh-grade language arts at $39,000, effective for the 2014-15 school year; Stephanie Tyler, high school science at $33,750, effective for the 2014-15 school year; Matthew Robinson, seventh-grade social studies and sixth-grade reading intervention at $33,750, effective for the 2014-15 school year; Travis Schubauer, Longfellow physical education at $16,875 (0.5 FTE), effective for the 2014-15 school year; Justin Zajic, middle school principal at $65,000, effective for the 2014-15 school year.

• New hires (MTI): Jerry Ehlke, substation instructor at $62,000, effective Aug. 1; Melissa Ettswold, simulation technician at $35,000, effective July 1; Brian Roberts, wind instructor at $50,000, effective June 24; Nathaniel Raak, math instructor at $38,500, effective Aug. 1; Jenna Reis, admissions rep at $32,000, effective June 16.

• Non-renewal (MTI): Kerry Donahue, instructor in ECM program, effective 2013-14 school year.

Other business:

During its regular meeting, the board will:

• Consider the bid for MTI's Health Sciences department equipment, the site and shop house and a new tractor for the school.

• Review the 2014-15 K-14 capital outlay budget for the district.

• Cast a ballot for the South Dakota High School Activities Association Board of Directors election.

• Consider handbook changes for the middle school for the 2014-15 school year. Approve the first reading.

• Approve a participation agreement to belong to the Associated School Boards of South Dakota's property and liability insurance and the worker's compensation pool.

• Approve an agreement to participate in the South Dakota School District Benefits fund for health benefits for the 2014-15 school year.

• Approve the bid for the reconstruction of the middle school parking lot.

• Approve the Title I schoolwide plans for Gertie Belle Rogers and L.B. Williams elementary schools.

• Approve a new three-year agreement with the Mitchell Education Association, that would give full-time teachers a $1,833 salary raise in 2014-15 and a $1,600 raise in each of the next two years.

• Approve administrator contracts for the 2014-15 school year, a total of 4.69 percent in salary increases for 11 employees. In addition, the board is expected to approve a three-year compensation package for Superintendent Joe Graves, as previously agreed to earlier this year.

• Board member and superintendent reports, public commentary.