$1.5 million for renovation

The conceptual drawing of renovations at the former Tekamah Motors building, showing Main Street to the left, was reviewed by Tekamah-Herman’s Board of Education last week. The building is expected to be open for the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year.

They know what it might look like and what they’re will to pay to get it there, the issue now is getting it done.

Tekamah-Herman’s Board of Education viewed preliminary plans for renovations at the former Tekamah Motors building. The board also approved up to $1.5 million to pay for the work.

The school district purchased the building last December with the intent of moving its career education classes out of the main building and out of Trades and Industries building across the street. Preliminary plans show the former dealership hosting classrooms for the ag and automotive programs, as well as an auto and small engine shop, the wood shop, welding bays, additional storage and classroom space and a commons area. The intent is to have the new building ready for the start of the second semester in January 2020.

Superintendent Dan Gross said some demolition at the site already has begun, but a finalized plan of what the interior will look like has not yet been settled upon. He said architects with Carlson West Povandra have spoken at length with staff members affected by the change.

“They’re probably not done talking with them,” Gross said.

He said the intent is to make sure the space is used functionally and efficiently, now and in the future.

But Monday’s decision was only about the price.

Board member Chris Booth said the building and grounds committee wanted to get the board a number the committee was comfortable with while providing for a long-term educational environment.

Gross said the cost projection wasn’t lowest possible, nor was it the highest.

“We just want to make sure we get what we need,” he said. “These are important, growing programs in our school as well as in the state.”

Work also is moving forward on what happens to the old T&I building once it's vacated.

Gross said the Ford building and the district’s buildings on the west side of main street have been checked for asbestos and an environmental study will get underway soon to determine the scope of work needed to remove any existing underground tanks on the south campus sites.