An architectural firm has been selected for the Clarinda School District’s planned renovation of the former Shopko store building.
During a meeting Jan. 27, the Board of Education awarded a $100,000 contract to OPN Architects, which has offices in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Iowa City.
The estimated $1 million project will involve the reconfiguration of the interior of the building at 1180 South 16th St. into a location for students enrolled in agriculture-related courses and career and technical education programs.
Under terms of the contract, OPN will provide design development for the remodeling work after making a physical assessment of the building, including a review of the current condition of the structure.
The interior will be examined to determine how it can be most effectively remodeled to create classrooms and other areas where instruction can be carried out for the programs put in place.
Superintendent Chris Bergman said meetings have been held recently in which input was solicited about the type of programming to be initiated.
A mixed group of community members and school administrators “talked through a lot of different areas” concerning ways that specific programs, such as those targeted toward the health care industry, could be set up, she said.
Then, in a small group discussion that included representatives from Clarinda economic development entities, participants “talked about how some of the larger group’s ideas interfaced within the parameters” of the overall project, Bergman said.
She indicated that a focus of discussions has been on creating programming that will provide students with “transferrable skills,” adding that “I think we’re actually making progress” toward this goal.
The particular courses offered and the scope of the instructional approaches to be implemented will influence how the renovation of the building will be done. “The architects are going to put dollar amounts on those things,” Bergman said.
Once specific plans have been formulated, OPN will assist with the bidding process, and officials of the firm will attend meetings to evaluate bids received.
Services will also include administration of the actual renovation work, in coordination with a construction manager.
For that phase of the project, the board at the Jan. 27 meeting selected Story Construction of Ames, although the signing of a contract was to be at a later date.
According to a timeline presented by OPN, the firm will have four weeks to produce schematics, four weeks to formulate design development and six weeks to prepare construction documents. Four weeks have been designated for the bidding process, and the construction work is scheduled to last from four to six months.
In other matters at the Jan. 27 meeting, the board approved the purchase of four new ovens for the food service department.
They will be supplied by Douglas Equipment Co. at $8,001.98 per oven, or a total cost of $32,007.92.
In information given to the board, Food Service Co-Directors Traci DeBolt and Joyce Johansen noted that during the current school year “we have benefited financially because of the change in funding and universal free meals. Our fund designation requires us to reserve no more than three months’ operating income and requires that the rest be reinvested in improving the school lunch program.”
To that end, the co-directors identified the replacement of convection ovens as a priority.
At present, there are two double-stack ovens in the K-6 building -- in use since the new middle school was constructed -- and two singles at the high school that were purchased in 2005. “Since the student population is almost evenly divided, we are opting to replace two single ovens in each building at this time,” DeBolt and Johansen informed the board.
Bids were received from two other suppliers -- Central Restaurant Co. for $8,560.40 per oven; and KaTom for $10,282 per oven.
In other business, the board:
Authorized the submission of a request to the School Budget Review Committee (SBRC) for $45,712.70 to pay the administrative cost for the Clarinda Academy for the 2021-2022 school year. The money will help pay for work completed by district administrators for the academy to meet state reporting requirements.
Approved the second a final reading of a series of policies dealing with such topics as academics, student performance and conduct, health and safety procedures, and legal issues. Policy committee and other district staff members recommended approval of the policies, following a review during which some revisions were made.
Approved the first reading of policy primers on administrative rules related to physical restraint and seclusion of students. Changes in the rules were proposed by the Iowa Department of Education.
Approved a bid of $105,274 from School Bus Sales Co. for a 2022 Blue Bird bus. The bid was the only one received. The 65-passenger diesel bus will be used as a route vehicle. As part of the purchase, a 2005 spare route bus will be traded in.
Approved a quote of $15,940.45 for the 2021-2022 school year from JMC, which is the district’s student data program. The contract is renewed each year based on the number of students enrolled on the 45th day of school. Because the quote is an estimate tied to the current enrollment, the amount will be adjusted by JMC as needed.
Approved a contract for $1,125 with the Green Hills Area Education Agency for ERate telecommunication services. Through the ERate program, school districts can apply for funding and receive discounts for Internet connections and related devices such as routers and switches. AEA representative David Fringer will confer with Clarinda officials to determine district needs, and will provide updates on ERate rules. He will also assist with the submission of funding application forms.
Approved resignations of Kaitlin Allen, co-head volleyball coach; and Courtney Ridnour, paraprofessional.
Regarding a potential personnel issue, Board President Greg Jones and Director Darin Sunderman agreed that it would be prudent for the board to consider contacting a search firm to assist, if necessary, in evaluating prospective candidates for the job of superintendent. Bergman is currently a finalist for a superintendent’s position in another school district.