The Mitchell Board of Education has approved a purchase to provide students and staff at Mitchell Technical College with several items of fitness equipment for a new fitness center.

The decision was made at the latest regular meeting of the board Monday.

The equipment, purchased at a cost of about $80,474.03, which includes preventative maintenance and warranty, will include 11 pieces of cardio equipment, 18 pieces of strength equipment and 31 pieces of accessory equipment. The purchase is being made from Nova Fitness Equipment of Omaha, Nebraska.

“This is part of the fitness center project, the second phase of the student lounge (renovation) in the Muth Electric Technology Center,” said Jared Hofer, CFO of Mitchell Technical College.

The new fitness area is part of a Mitchell Technical College strategic planning effort that was rolled out in 2017. One of the priorities of the plan was to ensure campus facilities were student-centered, accessible and conducive to learning.

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The 24/7 student fitness space connects to the newly renovated student lounge area through a set of doors.

Hofer said the new fitness center will help address some needs that were expressed by members of the student body, with them preferring an on-campus location at which to utilize fitness equipment rather than the current arrangement that has students working out at an off-campus location.

“Committees with students, as far as what else we need on campus that would benefit students, this certainly came up,” Hofer said. “We (currently) utilize an off-campus fitness center, but feedback was that students would like something on campus they could utilize. So this is part of that long-range plan.”

The board made the move following approval of the district joining the National Cooperative Purchasing Alliance, a national government purchasing cooperative that competitively solicits master contracts for products and services of use to public agencies. By joining, the Mitchell School District can tap into those contracts and the competitive bid pricing structures it entails. The fitness equipment purchase was done through the new NCPA agreement with the district.

Steve Culhane, business manager for the Mitchell School District, said while the district had not utilized this particular purchasing cooperative in the past, experience gained through other purchasing groups has proved to be a good economic choice. There is no fee to join the group, nor any obligation on the district’s part should officials want to work on purchases on its own.

While there was no exact figure on what joining the group saved the district on this particular purchase, Culhane indicated the district has found being a member of groups like this beneficial in the past.

“The last time we did this, it was with another purchasing group. We purchased two Suburbans from Vern Eide in 2017, and we had significant savings of over $15,000 over the purchase of those two vehicles four year ago,” Culhane said.

Neil Putnam, a member of the board, agreed that partnership with these types of groups have benefited the district bottom line.

“Anytime you join any type of purchasing group, there is savings, no doubt about it,” Putnam said. “I would expect you would see some significant savings if we can take advantage of it.”

Culhane said Nova Fitness has representatives in North Dakota and South Dakota, so there should be no problem getting service for the new equipment if needed. The city of Mitchell is also working with the group, so the company is expected to make regular visits to Mitchell and should be able to perform repairs and upkeep easily.

The board approved joining the cooperative and the equipment purchase by unanimous vote.


The board approved the following personnel moves at the Monday meeting:

  • The new certified hires of Clarie Stoller, 4th grade teacher at L.B. Williams Elementary, $44,906 and Joel Van Peursem, MS instrumental at Mitchell Middle School, teacher compensation $44,750, HS drumline $2,040, MS drumline $1,156, assistant marching band and MS musical, $2,040/$1,884. Both hires are effective for the 2021-22 school year.

  • The new classified hires of Mark Horan, head girls golf coach, $4,105; Jeffrey Meyerink, assistant girls golf coach, $2,068 and Karli O’Connor, MS assistant track, $1,306. All three hires are effective in the spring of 2021.

  • The transfers of Zack Clement, SPED grades 3-4 at L.B. Williams Elementary to 6th grade math/ELA at Mitchell Middle School and Beth Haar, 8th ELA at Mitchell Middle School to SPED at L.B. Williams Elementary. Both transfers are effective for the 2021-22 school year.

  • The resignations of Taylor Brekke, 0.8 music and 0.2 Title teacher at Longfellow Elementary, effective the end of the 2020-21 school year; Kelsie Mastel, 4th grade teacher at L.B. Williams Elementary, effective May 25; Samantha Olson, prevention specialist, effective June 4 and Jason Gebhard, assistant boys soccer coach, effective the end of the 2020-21 school year.

  • The resignation/retirement of Barb Myers, computer aide, effective the end of the 2020-21 school year.

  • The Mitchell Technical College new hires of Kim Mohr, nursing instructor, $11,642, effective May 10 to July 31; Sarah Konrad, nursing instructor, $11,343, effective May 10 to July 31; Ryan Van Zee, accounting/business instructor, $52,000, effective Aug. 1 and Maren Smith, temporary administrative assistant, $13.50, effective April 19.

Other business

Also at the meeting, the board:

  • Tabled an agenda item on administrator compensation to the next board meeting in the event an executive session is needed for discussion.

  • Approved membership for the Mitchell School District, including Mitchell Technical College, in the National Cooperative Purchasing Alliance.

  • Approved the purchase of a lot for the 2021-22 Mitchell Technical College ADBC site house.

  • Marked the official Associated School Boards of South Dakota board of directors election ballot. The board selected the candidate Tom Farrell of the Madison Central School District over Carol Voll-Ward of the Vermillion School District.

  • Resolved to authorize membership in the South Dakota High School Activities Association.

  • Approved the Mitchell Middle School handbook for the 2021-22 school year.

  • Heard board member reports.

  • Heard the superintendent report.

The next meeting of the Mitchell Board of Education is scheduled for April 26.