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Upgrades to the athletic complex were again a main item of discussion at the Monday, September 9 regular meeting of the Mount Ayr Community School board of education.
At their July meeting, the board heard a proposal from Musco Lighting of Oskaloosa to replace lighting at the football, baseball and softball fields at an estimated cost of $672,000.
Before considering such a significant expense, the board asked superintendent Joe Drake to explore options concerning the project.
At Monday’s meeting Drake reported he had received information from Hubbell Lighting of South Carolina showing estimated costs for the project were comparable to the original proposal from Musco.
In answering a question concerning the need for any upgrade at all, Drake shared recommendations from the Iowa High School Athletic Association concerning lighting of athletic facilities.
The IHSAA recommends an average of 40 foot-candles of lighting for football facilities. The Mount Ayr field now averages 19.9 foot-candles, with certain areas in each endzone rating in the single digits.
Similarly, lighting at both the baseball and softball fields were well below recommended avearages.
IHSAA recommends 50 foot-candles of light for each infield and 30 foot-candles in the outfields. Mount Ayr’s baseball field currently averages 24.4 foot-candles in the infield and 19.6 in the outfield. The softball field averages 20.8 foot-candles in the infield and 19.7 in the outfield.
In answer to questions concerning the district’s ability to afford such a project, Drake walked the board through revenue estimates for the coming school year showing the district could afford a $250,000 down payment on the project, with the balance financed through Musco for a short term.
Drake also reported he had received one offer of $50,000 that could go toward the project. He also received an offer to install the bases for new poles if the district decides to move forward with the project.
At the conclusion of the discussion, the board decided to table any decision pending the further review of costs as well as other infrastructure needs that might take priority over the lighting project at this time.
Another item of discussion focused on dirt work and landscaping at the elementary school and baseball field.
The board approved the bid of $10,000 from Honey Creek Custom Structures of Bedford to replace a retaining wall north of the elementary school.
The district had received two other bids of $26,880 and $17,600 for the project.
The board also approved allowing superintendent Drake to accept the lowest reasonable bid for drainage dirt work and the installation of a handicap accessible walkway at the baseball field. If bids come in significantly higher than expected, the board reserved the right to come into special session to make a final decision.
The board approved the list of volunteer coaches for the 2019-2020 school. They include:
Amanda Waske – cross country
Lucas Smith – football
Brad Elliott – football, strength and conditioning
Kristen Graham – volleyball
Chance Copper – wrestling
Kevin Trullinger – wrestling
Brent Wise – bowling
Eric Dolecheck – bowling
Dawn Dolecheck – bowling
Bill Huntington – track
The board approved salary adjustments for faculty who had completed enough credits to advance on the salary schedule.
Bret Ruggles moved from line 13-3 to 14-4 for a salary of $49,692. That amount also includes compensation for nine days added to his contract.
Mariah Mason advanced from line 2-1 to 3-3 for a salary of $34,096.
Kristen Graham moved from line 6-1 to 7-2 for a salary of $35,426.
The board also approved the hiring of three special education associates: Linda Kreps, Shayla Collier and Shelennia Roach.
In other business the board:
• set October 12 at 10 a.m. for an auction of obsolete equipment.
• approved a request from FFA advisor Morgan Quick for 10 students to attend the FFA National Convention in Indianapolis, IN October 30-November 2.
• set a special meeting for September 11 with the Bedford board of education to discuss their mutual search for a superintendent to be shared between the two districts beginning with 2020-2021 school year.