NEWS HEADLINES

Board wants plans drawn up for new ag facility

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Decatur school board has not yet approved the building of a new agriculture project facility, but it moved one step closer in that direction at Monday’s meeting.

Last month, the board heard a report on how the success of the ag program at the high school has led to high enrollment in ag classes and projects. That has resulted in an ag barn that is beyond its capacity. Superintendent Rod Townsend said in a few cases, more than one animal is in a pen.

“Mr. (agriculture teacher Mark) Goggins told me that if we grow any more next year, we will be at the point where we have to start turning students away,” Townsend said.

At last month’s meeting, architect Kevin Smith, president of Claycomb Associates, said he would try to get cost estimates for a new ag facility. Townsend relayed that information to the board Monday.

“We basically came up with a floor plan that we felt we could live with,” Townsend said. ” … It appears it will cost in the neighborhood of $70-$80 per square foot to build. But we’re at the point we can’t go any further until we have a full set of plans drawn so we can send them out and get some hard numbers on this.”

The facility will cost an estimated $750,000 to $800,000 to build.

The board indicated they wanted to move forward with more specific plans.

“I think we really want to let these guys grow this (program),” board member Jeff Elder said. “We have to do something. If we don’t, we’re going to be holding the program back.”

The next item on the agenda dealt with selecting a construction method, if the project was to be approved. The board approved a resolution selecting competitive sealed proposals as the method.

In other business, the board decided to pay off the notes borrowed in January of 2005 to purchase buses and other transportation equipment. The district originally borrowed $1.7 million, and after this year, there would be two remaining payments left totaling $32,387. Counting interest, fees and other costs, the approximate savings would be $26,887 over three years.

Assistant Superintendent Gary Micinski said the most important benefit of paying off the notes early would be freeing up about $210,000 for future budgets.

As part of the superintendent’s report, Townsend said it will probably be the end of January before the central administration offices will move into the renovated building next to the support services building. Townsend said he hoped to have next month’s board meeting at the renovated building.

Accountant Jenny Miller with Snow, Garrett, Williams gave a report on the annual audit, saying the district had “a clean, or unmodified opinion,” which is the highest level of assurance that could be given with an audit.

At the beginning of the meeting, various groups and individuals were given special recognition including:

  • winners of the district’s Christmas card art contest – Morgan McGee, Kendall Childers, Karina Aguilar, McKaela Aylor, Kathy Davenport and Alejandra Fernandez;
  • members and coaches of the Class 3A state champion Lady Eagles volleyball team;
  • Kris Tamplen as educator of the month; and
  • Lorrie Leonard as support staff employee of the month.

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