School wants to get building open by fall

The former Tekamah Motors building is expected to become a schoolhouse by next fall. Repurposing the longtime car dealership building in time for the fall semester is a priority for Tekamah-Herman’s Board of Education.

Tekamah-Herman Schools may have acquired one of the last pieces of its facilities puzzle when it obtained the former Tekamah Motors building recently.

But the pieces are still in the box and the school’s Board of Education now has to figure out how to put them together.

A work session set for Wednesday night, Jan. 23, is expected to be a start at emptying the box and getting all the available pieces on the table.

The board will hear from consultant Russ Koch who will outline the services he can provide the board, including helping set priorities for future building uses.

At the board’s regular monthly meeting Jan. 14, Superintendent Dan Gross said a vote on hiring Koch would take place at the board’s Feb. 11 meeting.

For the short term, board members last week showed a desire to have the Tekamah Motors building functioning as a career education center at the start of the 2019-20 school year.

That means getting the roof fixed and retrofitting the interior so the automotive and wood shops and the computer stations in the Trades and Industries building can be moved across the street. All of that work would need to be completed in roughly eight months.

Farther down the road, the welding shop and the ag classroom also could be relocated to the new building.

Vacating the T&I building is a priority because the district purchased three other properties in that block with the stipulation that the lots would be levelled within two years and one year is nearly gone. Having that building empty gives the board more options in deciding what to do with the rest of the block. The school district owns all of the property south of the veterans hall and west to the creek except for the house west of the bus shop along M St.

“We have had the luxury of time,” board member Burt Rogers said, “but pretty soon we’re going to have a lot of balls in the air.”

In other business Jan. 14, the school board:

—Reorganized for the coming year.

Mandyn Pruess was reelected by her peers to serve as board president. Burt Rogers was elected vice president. Heidi Lindberg was reappointed as the district’s secretary-treasurer.

Sheryl Stansberry, who joined Paul Potadle as new members of the board following the November election, was named as the board’s representative to the Tekamah-Herman Community Schools Foundation.

The board also filled its various committee assignments. They include:

Americanism: Rogers, Chris Booth, Stansberry.

Policy: Pruess, Bill Skinner, Stansberry.

Budget/Finance: Skinner, Pruess, Potadle.

Building/Grounds/Transportation: Rogers, Booth, Potadle.

Curriculum/Instruction/Technology: Pruess, Rogers, Booth.

Negotiations: Skinner, Booth, Stansberry.

In another annual move, the board also authorized Gross to sign all local, state and federal forms as the district’s representative.

—Approved the necessary easements for work to begin on the Tiger Loop Trail.

Part of the proposed walking trail through Memorial Park involves property owned by the school district. Plans show the trail skirting Tiger Stadium to the east before following the drainage ditch to the north past the practice field and looping back to the bridge that connects the school’s property to the park.

Short term-easements were granted to allow construction while a long-term easement was granted to allow for maintenance on the trail.

Gross said any of the school’s property that needs moved, like the east fence to the football stadium and a goal post on the practice field, will be paid for through construction costs and will not be paid by the district.

—Approved a new contract with the district’s teachers.

Under the terms of the agreement, the base salary will increase $700 to $34,700.

The base is then multiplied by certain set factors to reward teachers for years of service with the district and for hours of continuing education. In the recent past, a one percent pay increase was granted every two years. The new agreement calls for a half-percent increase annually.

The contract takes effect with the 2019-20 school year.