Athletic Boosters offer Mid-Prairie new $150,000 weight room-free

Posted 9/16/99

If the Mid-Prairie Board of Education approves it, the Athletic Boosters will build it. The “it” …

By Mary Zielinski (free-lance)

If the Mid-Prairie Board of Education approves it, the …

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Athletic Boosters offer Mid-Prairie new $150,000 weight room-free


If the Mid-Prairie Board of Education approves it, the Athletic Boosters will build it. The “it” …

By Mary Zielinski (free-lance)

If the Mid-Prairie Board of Education approves it, the Athletic Boosters will build it. The “it” is an estimated new $150,000 weight room that would see a 2,529 sq. ft. addition to Mid-Prairie High School.

“The Mid-Prairie Athletic Boosters plan to raise 100 percent of the funding needed,” Ron Gingerich of the Boosters told the board Monday. The only thing the group wants from the board is approval.

Gingerich explained the Boosters decided to undertake the project when it became apparent that the district, with its tight financial situation, could not match funds, as it has in the past.

Board President Tracy Anderson, although acknowledging the move, asked “what about maintenance, cost of heating, insurance. It really is not free.”

He asked if the group would have more detailed plans and estimates, and Gingerich said that “we have met with an architect,” but that the group did not want to spend money toward a project without board approval.

The new facility would provide approximately 2,100 square feet of room for the weight training program, something that could benefit all 340 students at the high school, Gingerich noted.

In addition, the facility would be used by middle school students.

The present weight room is 640 sq. ft. and has been considered inadequate for some time, he noted.

High School Principal Gerry Beeler said, “I appreciate the effort. $150,000 is an awful lot of money to raise,” but stressed that the present facility is constantly in use.

In fact, he said, “some arrive here before 6 a.m. to use it.”

The proposal is for an addition at the northwest corner of the school, adjoining the boys’ locker room and the gymnasium. It calls for a block/poured wall attached to the present gym and locker room with a brick veneer front to match the rest of the building.

Gingerich said that the funds would be raised “..via our usual numerous fund-raising activities and the seeking of grants.”

The Boosters previously raised $80,000 as their share of the new all-weather track at the high school, something they did by literally building and selling a house.

“That’s a $150,000 offer,” said board member Ed Whetstine. “It’s a no-brainer that we make it work.”

Gingerich said that the Boosters would return to the board next month with more details.

Maintenance post

Although board candidates, all of whom were at the meeting, asked the board to delay a decision about the Maintenance Director position until the new members took office, the board accepted the committee report and recommendation that the position be continued.

Board member Elizabeth Curl had suggested tabling the decision for two weeks because “two board members are not here and we are on the eve of the election.”

Whetstine countered that the committee had spent long hours meeting and that the delay would mean “we wasted our time.”

Board member Jack Dillon added that the committee was charged with a certain task and that “we should accept certain things that the committee came back with.”

The recommendations, besides maintaining the position, ask for:

•a more defined job description for the post

•a more defined job description for building custodians

•use of work orders

•accountability of the maintenance director by building principals

•evaluation of the director by building principals

•more training of building custodians by the maintenance director

Committee members were Henry Lemke, Jack Dillon, Ed Whetstine, Jim Adam (maintenance director), Doug Slaubaugh (business manager), Gordon Cook (superintendent), Gerry Beeler and Barbara Stimmel (teacher).

In other business, the board:

•approved substitute teacher pay increase from $72 to $80 per day. The move is to make the district competitive with other districts.

•learned that the state auditors are reviewing the special audit conducted earlier this year as a result of missing funds from district accounts. Cook said that “it should be done this week.”

•learned that preliminary enrollment figures, based on actual students in the classrooms, is 1,252, up 13 from last year’s 1,239.

•learned that the new lunchroom tables were installed Saturday at Wellman and Kalona elementary schools. Cost for the nine tables was approximately $20,000 paid from the hot lunch funds.

•learned that the problem with the air conditioning at the middle school library is due to an oversized unit for the space, something that means the original specifications were wrong, something determined by an independent engineer. Superintendent Gordon Cook said that “it is not a district expense,” and that discussion is continuing over how payment for the repairs will be made.

•learned that Christopher Soldat, 7th grade science teacher, is one of three state finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Program, making him a candidate for the national Presidential Award.

•learned that Soldat, Laura Conaway, Diane Allen, Jeff Murphy and Audrey Nissley, a 7th grade teaching team, received a $40,000 grant from the Department of Education to support technology literacy. The grant provides for staff training and funds for ten computers and support hardware.

•hired Jeana Kelley as director for the Before and After School Program at Wellman Elementary School.

•hired Sheila Decker as social studies teacher at the middle school, replacing Linda Cameron who resigned.

•hired Chris Kern as 7th grade football coach, making him one of four coaches at the school.

•named Cook and principal Mark Schneider as Level I Child Abuse Investigators and Adams & Baumbach, an investigating firm in Iowa City, as the Level II child Abuse Investigator.

•received a detailed self-assessment report of the district, something required by Iowa law.

•approved a new position of special education associate at Kalona Elementary School.