News

$3.1 million in projects eyed

Baseball field, tennis courts lead list; special education needs in district grow
By MIKE BROWN
Reporter Editor

High school baseball field renovation was set in motion by Rockdale ISD school board members Monday, culminating discussions on the matter stretching back nine months.

A $750,000 basic renovation of the RHS diamond is part of $3.146 million in projects the district hopes to implement in two phases over the next couple of school terms.

Other major projects include air conditioning the elementary gym, expansion/storage at the high school weight room and even new tennis courts, although the location has not yet been determined.

That action came during a lengthy monthly session during which trustees also heard a report on the district’s growing special education population and hired a new band director (see separate story).

Baseball field

Last July board members called for bids on a major baseball field upgrade which included moving athletic offices from the current weight room into a new press boxconcessions restroom complex at the diamond.

But that ran into problems when bids came in at double the amount budgeted.

In December a scaled back renovation was proposed with a guaranteed maximum price of $749,000.

That proposal failed for lack of a motion and no upgrade was done prior to the 2010 season.

Karl Kacir, assistant superintendent for business, said the renovation now proposed does not include moving athletic offices.

“It’s a concession stand and press box similar to the one at the softball field,” he said.

Dugouts and fences, also similar to the softball field, are proposed.

Other projects

Ot her “t ier one” projects, include field house interior renovation, removal of lockers in the old part of RHS and replacing exterior doors and electronic locks at the high school, elementary and junior-high.

“Tier two” projects are weight room expansion/storage, elementary gym air conditioning, juniorhigh restrooms upgrade, support services upgrade, energy management systems at RHS, RJH and the elementary, additional air conditioning work at RJH and the elementary and lighting work in two gyms.

Plumbing and roof work are part of the project package, along with repairs of the Tiger Field home parking lot and new tennis courts.

RHS tennis courts were removed when the new high school portion was constructed and Kacir said location of new courts has not yet been considered.

An area adjacent to the current junior-high courts and the area east of the softball field have been discussed, he said.

Funding

The projects’ fates will ultimately depend on bid proposals received.

On Monday board members authorized contracts for architectural, engineering and program management services, called for bids and authorized issuances of contracts for certain projects.

Kacir said most of $3,146,000 estimated as “rough cost” for the project will come from already existing funds and it is estimated only $695,200 will be used from the district’s general fund.

Special education

Penny Curry, assistant superintendent for instruction, reported on recent trends in the RISD, noting that the district’s special education population is growing.

She said this term 50 new students have come into the district already labelled as special education students.

Also, the number of autistic students in the district has grown from 4 to 13.

Curry noted the impact of special education has been reflected in recent rankings, including federal Average Yearly Progress (AYP) which lists all Rockdale campuses as meeting standards but says the district as a whole has not.

“I think this trend shows people in our area know the tremendous job we are doing in educating special education students and are sending them to us,” she said.

Curry also pointed out 67.5 percent of the RISD’s students are now categorized as “low socioeconomic.”

In other business, trustees:

• Accepted the retirement of Mickey Meadors, RJH principals’ secretary, and the resignation of junior-high science teacher/coach Erin DeWitt.

• Hired Loren Brown as juniorhigh history teacher/coach.

• Adopted a policy change regarding use of athletic fields to give the athletic director more discretion on a case-by-case basis.

• Named board member Michelle Lehmkuhl as the RISD’s representative on the Milam County Appraisal District (MCAD) budget committee.

• Approved the 2010-11 school calendar as presented by Curry.

• Okayed textbook selection as presented by Kurt Streck, intermediate assistant principal.

• Set board reorganization for 5:30 p.m. May 17 in the Central Administration Building.

• Heard Kacir give a preliminary report on 2010-2011 budget preparation.

• Heard the following reports: Kathryne Roddam, sixth-grade iPod grant; Joe Clark, smart board grant; Art Free, Texas State University Stream Watch Program; Angela White, junior-high career day; Chad Jones, “Walk a Day In Our Shoes” Day.


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