Board of education to review construction management bid for new high school

Puetz Design + Build of Mitchell receives recommendation.

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The Mitchell Board of Education is expected to consider the approval of Puetz Build + Design to handle construction management duties on the project to construct a new Mitchell High School building that would replace the current structure, pictured here. (Matt Gade / Mitchell Republic)
Matt Gade

The Mitchell Board of Education on Tuesday is expected to approve the construction management bid for the proposed new Mitchell High School building.

Discussion and action on the matter will take place at the regular meeting of the board Tuesday, Oct. 12, at 5 p.m. at the Mitchell Middle School cafeteria. The meeting is open to the public.

Joe Graves, superintendent for the Mitchell School District, said in his agenda notes that he would be recommending the board select Puetz Design + Build , of Mitchell, to handle construction management services for the project, which has been in development at the district for several years.

After an initial review, Graves said school officials rated interested companies on a number of criteria, including experience, services provided and its cost and fee structure. They then narrowed the candidates to two and revisited the criteria as well as conducted interviews and reviewed presentations.


The criteria was weighted at experience 40%, and services provided and cost and fee structures at 20% each.

“As a result, the top-scoring firm was designated to be Puetz Design + Build,” Graves wrote.

Graves noted that Puetz Design + Build is the same firm that provided construction management services for the Performing Arts Center construction.

Meeting livestreams

The board of education is also expected to discuss the possibility of livestreaming its own meetings.

The Mitchell School District currently does not livestream its own meetings, though the Mitchell Republic has been providing streaming of the meetings for its readers for the past several months of the 2021-22 school year.

Graves wrote in his agenda notes that he and Levi Hohn, director of technology for the Mitchell School District, gathered information on options that would allow the district to stream meetings, though he himself feels that streaming should be left in the hands of private enterprise.

“(My recommendation is) to allow private enterprise to continue to provide livestreaming/recording of board meetings and not pursue a system for livestreaming by the Mitchell School District,” Graves wrote.

Graves cites several reasons for the district to not establish its own streaming service. That includes the cost of a system of cameras in Room 10 of the Mitchell Career & Technical Education Academy, the time and cost of having technology department personnel operate and maintain the system, the ongoing costs of upgrading that system and the costs associated with establishing a video recording archive.


The board will make the final decision on the issue, however, Graves said.

“Having said all that, I know other school districts to livestream and record their meetings. Thus, if the board wishes to do this, I will, of course, make it happen,” Graves said.

Should the board wish to pursue its own livestreaming system, Graves said he would recommend using State DDN Video Units. These are old units were once used to offer distance classes. The district could then use the state video network via and the school district website. The equipment and ongoing costs would be free, other than employee time, though the quality of stream may be lower than desired. At some point the equipment would have to be replaced or updated, where costs would be incurred.

“The advantages of (this system) include a saving in short-term costs, a reinforcement of our current relationship with the state and an elimination of any worry about our content or information being sold to a third party,” Graves wrote.


The board is also expected to review the following personnel moves:

  • The new certified hires of Melissa Miller, middle school musical instructor, $2,055, effective the 2021-22 school year and Emily Brunsing, 3rd grade (0.5 FTE) at Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary, $23,375, effective Sept. 20, 2021.

  • The new classified hires of Linus Mayer, custodian, $14 per hour, effective Sept. 21, 2021; Becky Anderson, librarian at Longfellow Elementary, $14 per hour, 7.5 hours daily, effective Oct. 15, 2021 and Lee Gair, custodial at L.B. Williams Elementary, $14 per hour, 8 hours per day, effective Oct. 15, 2021.

  • The hire of Kimberly Max, dean of students, $52,500, effective Oct. 1, 2021.

  • The resignations of Cassey VerHey, Mitchell High School cheer coach, effective the 2021-22 school year; Allison Pierson, Mitchell Middle School oral interpretation advisor, effective 2021-22 school year; Nikki Beukelman, library aide at Longfellow Elementary, effective Oct. 15, 2021; Cody Foreman, head track coach, effective 2021-22 school year; Jenny Kunkel, dishwasher/server, effective Sept. 23, 2021 and Keri Munsen, head girls golf coach, effective 2021-22 school year

  • The Mitchell Technical College resignations of Stephanie Friesen, events and corporate ed coordinator, effective Sept. 24, 2021 and Laurie Kenworthy, campus store manager, effective Oct. 5, 2021.

Other business

Also at the meeting, the board is expected to:

  • Hear board member reports.

  • Hear the superintendent report.

  • Hear public commentary.

The Mitchell Republic will livestream the meeting.

Erik Kaufman joined the Mitchell Republic in July of 2019 as an education and features reporter. He grew up in Freeman, S.D., graduating from Freeman High School. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1999 with a major in English and a minor in computer science. He can be reached at
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