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October 19, 2019

9/26/2019 10:10:00 AM
Unit 2 wrapping up work on new bus barn
Robinson Unit 2 took steps on several construction projects Monday.

Two projects were approved by the Unit 2 school board for the new transportation facility on West Main Street. First, two electric poles need to be relocated. Then, some drainage and concrete work are needed.

The poles are "in exactly the wrong place," board member Dennis Inboden said. One pole is in the path to one of the overhead garage doors, while the other is in the path of traffic in the lot behind the building.

Ameren Illinois will move the poles, but will charge $8,000 to $9,000 to do so, more than the board had hoped. No one else can do the work.

Consolidated Concrete was awarded the bid to do the drainage and concrete work. The bid of $97,800 was considerably lower than the architect's estimate.

The project includes installation of new culverts and changes to approaches at the facility. The Illinois Department of Transportation and the City of Robinson have approved the plans.

In a related matter, Superintendent Josh Quick said the office space in the transportation building has been completed and lighting is being installed in the back lot.

Quick added concerns about traffic flow problems at the facility have proven unfounded thanks to staggering bus departures.

A parking lot behind Nuttall Middle School will be next Unit 2 property to be paved. The board called for bids on the work Monday.

Part of the area is gravel and badly rutted. Some is paved but in deteriorating condition. Plans call for the area to be paved with asphalt with a concrete pad beneath the school's dumpster. Concrete can better support the weight of trash trucks.

Board members also having paving done at Lincoln Elementary School. The project is tentatively planned for next summer and the board may go out for bids in October.

The board also confirmed the contract with Wohltman Construction, Effingham, to renovate to the front entrance of Robinson High School. The successful bid of $165,000 was approved in August.

The renovations will mean a visitor to RHS will have to make face-to-face contact with a school official before entering the building proper. Recommended by the Unit 2 Safety Committee, it is a step many schools are taking to safeguard students and staff.

The board is trying to limit access to the school. That is why a new sidewalk is to be built in front of the gymnasium. Students used to entering the school by the gym doors on the east side of the building, will be able to use the walk to access the renovated front door.

Also during the meeting, the board gave final approval to the 2019-20 budget.

Based on tentative figures revealed in August, all the major operational funds are expected to end this fiscal year in the black. The budget should be balanced, with the Education Fund taking in an anticipated $12.5 million while paying out $12.35 million.

In personnel matters, the board hired Megan Herder and Emily Vahling as special education paraprofessionals at LES, Hannah Waggoner as a Washington Elementary School special ed paraprofessional, Erica Herr as an NMS lunchroom supervisor and Tony Terry as WES evening custodian. Courtney Ferris was hired as 3-5 parent and family coordinator.

Josiah Wright was named as NMS boys basketball coach and Brenna Keeler was named as an NMS assistant Scholastic Bowl sponsor. Kelsey Scott and Bryant Scott were approved as volunteer assistant basketball coaches for NMS girls and RHS boys, respectively. Amanda Barriontos was approved as an RHS girls basketball volunteer and Gary Kapper was named as an RHS softball assistant.

Resignations were accepted from NMS color guard sponsor Hannah Dean, LES assistant cook Nikki Kirchoff, RHS head wrestling coach Joe Cunningham, LES evening custodian Sandra Hyde, elementary physical education aide, NMS lunchroom supervisor Erlinda Miller, RHS lunchroom supervisor Christine Murray, RHS head cook Tammy Tennyson and RHS cook's helper Kristen Allen.

In other business, the board squelched a rumor that it is considering opening up the RHS wrestling program to other county schools. No one on the board had heard the rumor until asked about it by a parent.

It was explained that establishing a co-op with even one other district would force the wrestling team into a different division. If that happened, local athletes would have to compete against teams from much larger schools and from much farther away.

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