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School board updated on PHS project

POLSON — The Polson School Board of Trustees held their first paper-free meeting on Feb. 10 with no bumpy spots. Before the meeting, trustees not familiar with the new iPads were given instruction by Carl Elliott, district technology and human resources director.

Swanke Enterprises sent representatives to report on the progress of the Polson High School project. 

The construction project is divided into three parts — the roof, architectural upgrades, and heating and air conditioning upgrades, according to Louise Adamson from Swanke. 

She said the roof is mostly done, the architectural side of the project was bid out last year and came in “roughly within budget,” and the HVAC was bid out a couple of weeks ago.

A representative of the design team reported on the mechanical systems. He said the job requires replacing the large original units on the roof, which are 40 years old.

As far as numbers go, the roof cost $459,320 instead of $550,000; the architectural upgrades came in at $364,842 instead of the expected $415,900; and the mechanical upgrades cost $638,221 instead of $1 million, which means the project came in under budget.

The $503,518 excess will allow more items for school needs. The trustee building committee is looking to PHS Principal Rex Weltz to determine where to allocate the extra funds, according to committee chair John Laimbeer. Weltz is looking at a facelift for the lobby, which gets a lot of use, or a redo on the school entrance, but he wants to involve the students and get their input. 

PHS Athletic Director and Assistant Principal Scott Wilson filled trustees in on the annual Montana High School Association meeting. He said a key issue voted on was whether or not 8th graders could participate in high school sports. 

“It’s a big issue for smaller schools,” Wilson said, but the MHSA body voted to limit participation to grades 9 to 12. 

A bid to allow high school golfers to wear jewelry also failed.

“The only jewelry that’s allowed for any sport is medical and that has to be taped to your body,” Wilson explained. “It’s just easier to have one policy across all sports,” Wilson said.

The biggest issue the group voted on was allowing sports on Sunday, Wilson said.

Recently the Seventh Day Adventists sued the Oregon High School Association, according to Wilson. The religious group’s point was that if the schools were going to choose one day as a Christian day, look at their holy day, which is Saturday. MHSA members thought the same suit could be filed in Montana so they took preventative action.

School District 23 received Transportation Alternatives funding for the Fourth Ave. E Linderman Elementary School Sidewalk and Curb project. The Montana Department of Transportation’s TA program replaces the Community Transportation Enhancement Programs and included the Safe Routes to School program.   

Superintendent Linda Reksten praised Laimbeer for the $106,000 grant, saying he did all the work. 

Of the hundreds of proposals and grants Laimbeer has written, he said this one “just came together.”

Of 72 grants submitted, only 10 were approved. 

“And we were one of the 10,” Laimbeer said.

The project should start in the spring. 

In other business, the trustees approved out of state travel for the PHS Indian Club to attend the Northwest Indian Youth Conference in Spokane Valley, Wash., from March 31 to April 3. The students will fundraise for meals and lodging, and the Indian Education Committee will provide registration and transportation costs. 

Another PHS student received the trustees’ go-ahead. Ceara Snyder auditioned for and was selected to attend the Northwest Honor Choir in Seattle from March 13 to 16. Dawn Matt, PHS choir teacher, will accompany Snyder.

The next Polson school board meeting will be held on Monday, March 10, in the administration conference room at 5:30 p.m.  

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