USD 418 McPherson School District Recap Nov. 11

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By McPherson Buzz School Board Correspondent Brian Meek

The McPherson School board convened for a regular meeting at 7 p.m. on Nov. 11 at the USD 418 Central Office. The meeting began with a number of routine items including a donation from the Class of 1974 to the Art Restoration Fund to clean the print and frame of The Castle By The Sea. Executive Director of the McPherson County Special Education Cooperative Melissa Strathman presented a report detailing the events of a recent conference in Omaha, Nebraska. The remainder of the meeting was focused around the two topics of district curriculum and facility improvement planning.

Curriculum Coordinator Brandi McWilliams presented the new McPherson Curriculum Council structure. The MCC is part of a two-tier process.  The council receives input from the subject specific curriculum committees and provides recommendations to the superintendent and the board of education in matters of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. The curriculum committees are content-specific and include department heads and a variety of staff.

McWilliams stated that the 2019-2020 year will focus specifically on K-5 English Language Arts. School Board Vice President Brad Berg questioned the timeliness of the curriculum reviews and the entire process.

“…after K-5 we will go ELA 6-12 than move on to others, we are working on that schedule right now.” McWilliams responded.

Assistant Superintendent Shiloh Vincent also added that after ELA, math was the next priority. Board Member Bryan Kynaston concluded by questioning the acceptance of the policy with the administration.

“Everybody is open, because this is a priority,” McWilliams responded.

The last items discussed were the facility visioning team meeting updates and the selection of a construction management company. Two teams, one consisting of community members and one consisting of staff and students have been formed as part of the process for determining what items may be included on a potential facility bond. Over the past month each team has met twice. Superintendent Gordon Mohn discussed the visioning teams meeting minutes. The top 4 priorities for facility improvements were identified by the teams as: Safety and security, building improvements, athletic facilities, and upgraded academic spaces. The visioning teams will meet again in December to discuss the priorities and specific needs of each building. The teams have a goal of determining the scope of the proposed bond by April 2020.

In order to achieve this April 2020 goal, it was necessary to begin working with a construction management company that can provide quotes and help in determining the cost of various upgrades and improvements. The following is an excerpt from the report given by Mohn to the board:

On Oct. 30 the district’s Facility Committee interviewed four construction companies that had completed Requests for Proposals to serve as the district’s Construction Manager at Risk. Kevin Greischar from the DLR group assisted the committee in the selection process. The four companies interviewed were: Hutton Construction, McCown Gordon Construction, Nabholz Construction, and Simpson Construction.
Prior to the interview, each firm submitted a detailed written document identifying the services provided by the company. Representatives from each company made a 30-minute presentation with 15 additional minutes for questions and comments. Companies were ranked using a matrix provided by DLR (architect) and endorsed by the committee.
The committee unanimously selected Hutton Construction to provide this service.
After this agreement, the Kansas Department of Administration provided a ranking of companies based on cost proposals submitted to the state. Hutton Construction was also ranked first in this process.
The board unanimously approved Hutton Construction as the district’s Construction Manager at Risk.

“It is an iterative process, we don’t come out day one with exactly what it is going to cost. There is constant back and forth, looking at what each improvement may cost,” President of Hutton Construction Andy Buessing stated. “You will have more wants than you can pay for with a bond and you will need to prioritize and select the best projects.”

The next board meeting willbe held at 7 p.m. on Nov. 25 at the USD 418 Central Office.

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