A water pipe break, a stipend, capital projects and more were discussed during the St. Clair R-XIII School Board meeting Thursday, Jan. 11.

Water Pipe Break

On Monday, Jan. 8, it was discovered around 5 a.m. that a water pipe in the ceiling of junior high boys locker room froze and broke due to sub-zero temperatures.

Superintendent Kyle Kruse said the heater in that area had failed and a significant amount of water flooded the locker room and the gym floor. Between a third and a half of the floor is damaged.

In his board report, Kruse said he hopes the floor can be saved.

“A remediation is working on drying things out and then our insurance is coming out to assess the damage and help us getting it all repaired or replaced – not sure which way it will go,” Kruse said.

Announcing Booth

Kruse will be meeting with FGM Architects in the near future regarding sketches of a new football announcing booth.

The previous booth was removed near the end of 2017 due to safety and structure concerns.

“We’ll have to get that project done right away so it’s ready for next season,” Kruse said.

FGM Architects were hired in December to develop the district’s long-term facility improvement plan.

The firm will develop several items including a districtwide facility assessment, a districtwide mechanical systems assessment, a long-term facility plan, community engagement pieces and a detailed assessment report.

Track Wall

Currently being rebuilt is the retaining wall that separates the high school softball field and the track.

The board approved US Lawns in October to replace the wall with concrete bricks totaling $48,228.20. An engineer has directed the company to correct some minor issues such as block color and a slight ripple in the wall, according to Kruse.

The old retaining was built 30 to 40 years ago and made out of railroad ties. The reason for replacement was one of the dugouts was leaning up against the retaining wall, causing it to collapse on the dugout. All of the games this past season have been played at Iron Hill Sports Complex.

District Vehicles

The board gave authorization to purchase a new car and minivan for the district.

The board agreed for Kruse to shop at local dealers and find a good price for the state contract.

Recommended vehicles to the board to consider purchasing are a 2018 Chevy Cruze from Don Brown in St. Louis in the amount of $16,062 and a 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan from Capitol Chrysler in Jefferson City in the amount of $22,315.

Those two vehicles would replace the current 2012 white Ford Focus that has 112,200 miles and the 2012 green Ford Focus that has 113,756 miles.

Kruse told The Missourian that the vehicle purchases may happen within the next few weeks.

Longevity Stipend

The board continued a discussion from the summer about the possibility of giving a one-time longevity stipend to teachers and staff.

Current employees who were with the district during one or both salary freezes in 2010 and 2016 would be eligible for the one-time stipend, according to Kruse. Any stipend would be part of the 2018-2019 budget.

“We can’t go back and make up those freezes,” Kruse said.

“Doing so would potentially put the district at some legal liability.”

The board did not take action yet on the stipend. It was agreed for Kruse to do more research and look into the idea of revamping the district’s salary schedule.

Capital Project Review

School board members reviewed several projects that have taken place this school year including the repaving of the high school parking lot, the repaving at elementary building, the installation of a new electronic access system throughout district, building roof repairs, HVAC repairs and replacements and remodeled restrooms.

Kruse said the question among the board members was what big projects are a priority for next year. After some discussion, there are safety concerns regarding the junior high and high school gym bleachers.

“They are, by some reports, 50 years old. They lack some handrails. We’ve actually had a couple of minor injuries just pulling them out and putting them back in. They’re requiring repairs every year at this point,” Kruse said.

He added that he hopes to get the bleachers replaced by next summer.

In addition to bleachers, the board would like to see more building roof repairs and more new pavement, according to Kruse.

Recognition

School board members were given a letter of recognition for their work and dedication.

“We really appreciate the work our board members do. It’s an unpaid position and they deal with some very difficult issues,” Kruse said.

“This board is operating in a manner that I think is very professional and very thoughtful.”