The Mitchell Board of Education on Monday approved Schemmer as the company that will handle design and architectural duties on the new Mitchell High School project.

The board approved the move by unanimous vote at its regular meeting Monday, Aug. 23, at Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary School.

“(The current building is a) 1962 building, and it lacks some things,” said Joe Graves, superintendent of the Mitchell School District. “And high schools are always the buildings that take a lot more usage. You can open an elementary school at 7:30 a.m. and close it at 4 p.m., but the use is pretty much restrained to that. At the high school, it can literally be open from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. It just gets a lot more usage and is showing its wear.”

The board selected Schemmer, headquartered in Omaha, from among a handful of other firms based on a list of criteria, including the experience of the firm, the services provided and its cost and fees structure. Graves said the firms were given a score for each of the three criteria. The score was then totaled with the firm earning the highest score receiving the recommendation for approval.

The review committee evaluating the firms was made up of Joe Childs, high school principal; John Sieverding, director of buildings and grounds; Steve Culhane, district business manager; and Graves.

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Schemmer, the South Dakota affiliate of Miller, Sellers and Heroux, is part of the same firm that did design work for the district Performing Arts Center.

Planning for a new Mitchell High School has been in the works for several years, with the district putting capital outlay funds away to build up a fund that could be put toward the construction of the new building. The building would likely be constructed on land around the current high school building, which the district already owns. The plan is to use the current school through the construction of the new school so that the school year will not be interrupted due to the work.

“We’d like to build it on the current property, which will save an enormous amount of cost. We have had over the years numerous offers to buy parts of the high school campus property, but this is why we’ve held off on that,” Graves said.

The design phase will include conversations with teachers, administrators, custodians and other staff members who will occupy and work in the new building. There is no firm timeline on construction, though Graves said progress will likely be seen next year sometime.

“The idea is that we could technically finish the design and have documents out so that some foundational work could occur prior to the winter after this coming one. If that isn’t possible, the construction would begin the spring of the following year,” Graves said.

New combine

The board also approved the purchase of a used combine for Mitchell Technical College.

The purchase was made in an effort to replace a 1990 John Deere 9500 combine, which the district expects to trade on toward a newer model.

Only one bid for the equipment was received. That bid came from C&B Operations of Mitchell. It was for a 2012 John Deere S660 for $101,177.00, which includes the trade in. The bid met all specifications and was within expected budgetary limitations.

The purchase is part of the equipment funding from the state of South Dakota, which offers two-thirds of the costs of the purchase with Mitchell Technical College covering the remaining third.

The board approved the purchase by unanimous vote.

Personnel

The Mitchell Board of Education will consider the following personnel moves at the meeting:

  • The new classified hires of Maria Payne, Mitchell High School attendance secretary, $13.75/hour, 8 hours daily, effective Aug. 9; Mary Fuoss-Dickson, general food service worker at Mitchell High School, $12.75 per hour, 5.5 hours daily, effective Aug. 16; Carolyn Sivik, librarian at Mitchell High School, $16.48 per hour, effective Aug. 12; Hermelinda Sanchez, ENL paraeducator at Mitchell Middle School and Mitchell High School, $11 per hour, 7 hours daily, effective Aug. 18; Cammy Hilgendorf, paraeducator at Gertie Belle Rogers, $11.75 per hour, effective Aug. 30 and Leonard Schmit, maintenance, $15.90, effective Aug. 16.

  • The changes in hours for Lynn Meyer, paraeducator, 7.5 hours to 7 hours at L.B. Williams Elementary; Blair Overweg, paraeducator, 7 hours to 7.5 hours at L.B. Williams Elementary and Charlene Hilkemeier, paraeducator, 7.25 hours to 7 hours at Longfellow Elementary School. All changes are effective for the 2021-22 school year.

  • The resignation of Jamie Miller, paraeducator at Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary, effective the 2021-22 school year.

  • The new Mitchell Technical College hires of Izaak Goldammer, diesel power technology instructor, $58,000, effective Aug. 23; Jaycee Hohn, admissions representative, $33,440, effective Aug. 30 and Nichole Simmermon, admissions representative, $33,936, effective Aug. 23.

  • The Mitchell Technical College resignation of Greg Kock, diesel power technology instructor, effective July 31, 2021.

Other business

Also at the Monday meeting, the board:

  • Approved new policies and revised current policies related to legalization of medical cannabis on second reading.

  • Approved new policies and revised current policies related to students in alternative instruction on first reading.

  • Heard board member reports.

  • Heard the superintendent report.

  • Heard public commentary.

The next meeting of the board is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13 at Mitchell High School.