By Sarah Johnson

Missourian Staff Writer

Lonedell Superintendent Jenny Ulrich was able to make some big changes on a small budget for the upcoming school year.

Kindergarten students, parents and teachers will walk into a like-new classroom this year, Ulrich said.

“It’s like buying someone a Christmas present and then you can’t wait to give it to them,” she said. “It really looks nice.”

The large room, which is occupied by two kindergarten teachers, is sporting new ceiling tiles with painted crossbars, a freshly painted room,  repaired sink, cabinets and closet doors, new ceiling fans, removed room dividers and refurbished and cleaned heating units with new air filters.

“It looks like a new room,” Ulrich said. “This room looks amazing and will reflect the wonderful teaching that takes place in there daily.”

Ulrich said another project that took place over the summer is a new brick stairwell that leads to the playground.

“This was more of a safety issue,” she said. “All of the brickwork was beginning to lean.”

Maintenance Director Dennis Barry did most of the prep work so that project was completed for around $3,600, Ulrich said.

Students going to recess also will see some improvements made to the playground, which was extended by about one-quarter of its current size. Although she would have liked to have had enough money in the budget to resurface the entire playground, Ulrich said the district was able to patch cracks, making the surface safer for play.

Two new tetherballs also were added.

“Tetherball is really popular here,” Ulrich said. “The kids will be happy that they won’t have to wait in line as long to play.”

The district was able to complete the playground project by doing the work inhouse for just under $8,000. Much less, Ulrich said, than if they had hired a contractor.

Ulrich said it is her goal to be able to completely resurface the playground in the next few years as the budget will allow.

The track area also has something new for the school year, Ulrich said, with a new 50-foot approach added to the long jump. The Booster Club has agreed to donate $700 toward that project.

Other projects on the list for this year will include repairs to the art room plumbing and drinking fountains throughout the building, new filters on all air conditioners, completion of the pipes along the nature trail and locating root issues within the schools sewage pipes. The front flower beds also will be spruced up with white rock to be added.