Athletic facilities and building maintenance discussed by board

LEWISTOWN–Preventative maintenance on buildings and athletic facilities dominated discussion during Thursday’s committee-of-the-whole meeting of the Mifflin County School District Board of Directors.

Most of the topics covered were athletic-related with Buildings and Grounds Director Joe Gagliardo reviewing a check-list of “wishes” from Athletic Director Tish Maclay and himself, some of which would have to be inserted into future district budgets, while others could be paid for through the capital reserve fund.

Gagliardo said the list includes, but is not limited to, resurfacing the main track, resurfacing the tennis courts, more fencing at the soccer field, and bleacher improvements at the baseball, softball and Mitchell Field facilities.

“There’s close to $100,000 worth of stuff,” Gagliardo said. “These items will need to be prioritized and phased in over the next few years.”

Superintendent James Estep said he brought these wishes to light because of previous board discussions on whether or not the district wanted to look at major upgrades to the football facility, including artificial turf, and if so, how the board would recommend financing these activities.

“We need to understand what your goals are,” Estep said. “A lot of these things are normal maintenance activities on these facilities. Some are bigger picture.”

Estep said that in the past, the district deferred a lot of the maintenance that should have been in a normal cycle.

Board member Beth Laughlin said now might not be the right time to be thinking about artificial surface fields in light of several renovation projects currently underway and another one, at Strodes Mills Elementary School, beginning at the end of the current school year.

“With the fiscal burden we’re under right now, and the fact that we’re also looking at possible expenditures at the Academy, would pretty much preclude putting in a turf field in the next five to seven years, in my opinion,” she commented. “If we’re flush with cash someday, maybe, But that’s not on my radar right now.”

Board members Noah Wise and Robert Hammond said they are in favor of at least having a full board discussion on the subject and expressed a desire to have Maclay come to a future board meeting for a sit-down meeting.

Estep and Vance Varner, director of Secondary Education, said they would meet with McClay and arrange a time, possibly as early as April, to have Maclay come to the meeting and talk about the issues further in-depth.

Also during his report, Gagliardo noted that two recently completed energy savings renovation projects, one at Lewistown Intermediate School and the other at the junior high school, are already paying dividends in terms of saving the district money.

Gagliardo said the natural gas bill at LIS prior to the new boiler installation amounted to $13,785 and the most recent bill was $7,295. At the junior high school, natural gas expenditures with the old boilers came in at $29,613 and the latest bill totaled $13,900. “So that’s some good news,” he said.

Other agenda items up for a vote during the board’s March 28 meeting include:

¯ The addition of Tracey McGowan as a bus driver for Fisher Brothers Inc.

¯ Approval of Nuchwara Mounting of Thailand as a foreign exchange student for the 2019-20 school year.

¯ Approval of the MCHS Marching Band spring trip to Philadelphia and Baltimore May 10-12 with the Band Boosters covering the cost for the entire trip, including transportation, tourist attractions and meals.

¯ The resignation of Benjamin Weber, social studies teacher at the junior high school, due to new employment, effective at the end of the current school year.

¯ Approval of Joy Lucas, health room aide district wide, pending completion of pre-employment paperwork.

¯ Approval of Patricia Christoff, part-time cashier/dish room at the middle school, effective March 11.

¯ Acceptance of the resignation of Joann Renninger, cafeteria substitute, effective March 11.

¯ Acceptance of the resignation of Diana McCracken due to medical reasons, effective March 13.

¯ The re-appointment of Krystena Mayo as head volleyball coach for the 2019-2020 fall season.

¯ Approval of Ashley Suydam, head field hockey coach for the 2019-2020 season, pending completion of pre-employment paperwork.

¯ Approval of the Tuscarora Intermediate Unit budget in the amount of $2,902,567.

¯ Approval of bond parameters resolution for the purpose of funding capital projects for the district.

¯ A recommendation to pay $1,702,798 to McClure Company, which represents the 20 percent down payment on the Strodes Mills Elementary project. Estep said the money will be taken from capital reserve funds and returned upon receipt of the financing for the project.

¯ Approval of the following technology interns for summer help at a rate of $10 per hour: Bennet Andrews, Keith Shearer and Ryan Terry.