By Mollie Rushmeyer, Correspondent
The updates and expansions to the Royalton Middle School-High School (MS-HS) gymnasium have been completed, something residents, students and faculty alike have waited for since voters approved a bond referendum to fund improvements to both the elementary and MS-HS in 2015.
The referendum brought in the $26.1 million necessary to work on the projects. Some of the improvements included were: an expanded MS-HS locker, kitchen and commons area creating the new “cafetorium,” an updated stage and drama area, new and expanded parking lots, bigger weight/fitness room at the MS-HS, safer air ventilators at the elementary, moving the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs from the elementary to a new wing of the MS-HS, elementary gymnasium overhaul, a multi-sensory stimulation room for special education, as well as a bathroom update at the elementary.
The expansions have had mixed reviews in the community, especially in relation to the budget.
However, Michelle Hauber the business manager for Royalton School District, said Monday at the School Board meeting, the school district has to stay within the budget due to the money allotted through the referendum and the long-term facility dollars from the state.
Board Member Dale Lenz said there are a few things left to do on the total expansion list. The floor in the new MS-HS gymnasium will need to finish curing before the state inspector can give the letter of occupancy. The plan is to have that done in time for the graduation ceremony as it will be held in the new gym Friday, May 26, at 8 p.m.
After school is out, June 2, a number of summer projects will commence. Putting in the new pre-K and kindergarten playground at their new facility, putting another layer of tar on the south MS-HS parking lot, flooring in the south hallways of MS-HS, several roofing projects, to name a few. But, Director Lenz, said it’s nice to have the end in sight and have the buildings used to their full potential.
There will certainly be many “firsts” for the renovated/ added-on areas.
“I’m looking forward to the public being able to use the fitness center,” Lenz said.
The expanded fitness and weight room will be open to Royalton School District residents as well as the open-enrollment families year-round for a small yearly fee.
Another “first” was the first event, the Hall of Fame Banquet, held in the “cafetorium” Wednesday, May 17.
Among points of view represented regarding funding and expansions to the school, more than a couple people in the audience, as well as Board members like Director Jim Block, said they want to see upgrades to the buildings and programs in order to attract more families to the schools in Royalton.
Royalton School Board Briefs
Other business during Monday’s Royalton School Board meeting, included:
- Director Ellie Holm and Chairperson Noel Guerard discussing the forms for citizen input. If a person fills the forms out and check the box indicating they would like to be contacted about a matter, Holm said they will try to get back to that person before the next Board meeting;
- Approving family medical leave from June 29 through July 19, for Tammy Graczyk;
- Approving the resignations of Amy Krueger as junior high volleyball coach, Zach Silbernick as C-squad girls basketball coach, Mark Deretich as assistant girls basketball coach, Kim Sobieck-Behren as paraprofessional and Alison Przybilla as MAP;
- The hiring of Jeremy Shaw as summer high school extended school year (ESY), Jennifer Oldakowski as an early childhood special education preschool paraprofessional, Alexis Hirsch as assistant volleyball coach;
- Approving of the summer 2017 Community Education coaching and advising positions 5-0 with Director Jim Block abstaining, with the discussion about the high number of still-vacant positions for summer coaches. Director of Student Activities and Community Education Brent Lieser said he has put advertisements out but no one’s stepping forward. Lieser is recruiting high school students and recent grads. Some positions are paid and some are not, which, Lieser said makes it difficult to fill them and sometimes to maintain accountability within them once filled;
- Approving a band agreement with Chris Coppicus for summer parades and practices;
- Approving hiring ESY teachers Joan Nichols and Amanda Cassens;
- Accepting donations for $500 from Medtronic, $250 from Mel and Sue Oelrich, $577 from Roma Pizza;
- An open discussion among the Board and audience regarding whether to bring the education levies to a public vote or have it a Board vote. Many citizens said they wished to have the Board vote because they voted the Board into place to make these decisions. Guerard said he didn’t want to take the public’s right to vote away. When it came to the vote to rescind local optional revenue referendum and convert the $424 and the $300 per pupil to a voter approved referendum authority both times it failed 1-5. Guerard voted in favor both times;
- Discussing the possibility of moving the regular board meetings to a start time of 7 p.m.; and
- Director Block suggesting a committee for improved advertising for the school be considered.
The Royalton School Board’s next regular meeting is Tuesday, June 13, at 6 p.m.