Less than a month away will be the final day of the school year and that will mean the usual summer construction projects for schools in the Wawasee Community School Corp. This summer many of the projects will be at Wawasee High School and involve athletic facilities on the campus.
During the regular monthly meeting of the Wawasee school board Tuesday evening in Syracuse, the board approved awarding a base bid in the amount of $2,395,000 to Fort Wayne-based Robert E. Crosby Inc., to complete the projects. A combination of capital projects funds and bonds will pay for the projects.
Although it was noted by architect Kari Vilamaa that Crosby has not done any construction work in Wawasee schools, at least not in recent memory, the company has done summer school projects elsewhere, has been in business a long time and is reliable.
Work in the WHS athletic training room and in the hallways around the gym will not be done this summer. Some of the summer projects did not require bids to be issued.
Vilamaa added it was exceptional there were four bids issued (Crosby was the lowest of the four) because many contractors are busy, especially with summer so close. Other base bids were submitted by Brown & Brown General Contractors ($2,680,000), Milestone Construction ($2,445,000) and the Robert Henry Corporation ($2,707,000).
In other business, the board heard a brief report from Susan Mishler, principal of Wawasee Middle School. Just prior to Christmas, WMS was given an F letter grade by the Indiana Department of Education and placed in a priority status. That required a student achievement plan, as well as a student improvement plan, to be submitted.
Mishler said more will be known once the latest ISTEP+ results come in, but it is known more of a focus is being placed on literacy skills, as well as English and language arts. Seventh-grade teacher Shelley Kunkle has been teaching a reading course that has produced positive results, Mishler noted, and it is hoped the course will be expanded into the sixth and eighth grades.
Emphasizing the best practices with teachers and having data driven classrooms are other key areas being focused on. Having Tom Dickerson as a student services coordinator since February has helped, Mishler said, because it has allowed the assistant principal Shawn Johnson to help Mishler work with teachers more.
Among the personnel recommendations approved by the school board were several teacher retirement requests. WMS teachers Elaine Bokhart, David Eldridge, Darcy Hively, Jay Smith and Sallie Hoy will retire, as will Rick Bauer, who oversees technology at the school. Also retiring is teacher Cayle Woodard from Milford School.
Other agenda items included:
• WHS English and social studies Academic Super Bowl team members were not present at the meeting, but it was noted the English team placed third and the social studies team fourth at the state competition at Purdue.
• Hot lunch prices will be raised five cents to $1.60 for grades K through five and $1.75 for grades six through 12 to keep in compliance with National School Lunch Program requirements.
• A total of $1,750 was raised by staff members for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event.
• And the second annual Boomerang Backpacks golf outing will be held June 16 at Lake Tippecanoe Country Club.
(For a more in-depth account of the meeting, see today’s issue of The Mail-Journal.)