The McGregor School Board April 12 work session was in person and recorded on Facebook Live.
Board members reviewed options for this year’s graduation ceremony and agreed that either an in-person ceremony with limited attendance or an outdoor event would be possible. Members of the graduating class will be consulted prior to a final decision being made.
Pat Scollard reminded the board that any indoor event still has to be kept under 250 people. That means that if the band and choir play, family attendees will have to be limited.
“If we limit attendance to six people per family, families could be seated in ‘pods’ in the gym,” he said.
Barring weather problems, board members agreed that the district could do a better outdoor ceremony than last year when people had to stay in their cars.
Scollard said the football field was another option, accompanied by a live stream video. Liz Dean will represent the board members on the graduation committee.
The board held off on making a decision about location until Scollard has a chance to talk to the graduating class.
Prom is scheduled for the evening of May 1. Both dinner and dance will be held in the Vets gym, with an overnight party to end at 5 a.m. the following morning. No out of town guests will be allowed.
The annual banquet, sans dinner, will be in the auditorium on Monday May 10. Because of COVID-19, including a meal was not an option. The event is limited to seniors and their parents, unless there are underclassmen who are invited to receive special athletic awards. The next board work session will be on May 3 to accommodate the Lions Banquet.
BUILDING PROJECT UPDATE
Based on earlier discussions with the board and staff, Nexus took a new look at flexible learning spaces and made some design adjustments in response to the board’s requests. They met with the facilities committee as well, and incorporated that committee’s comments into a new proposal.
“We have stayed true to our principles to deliver on the design the school board requests and the public approved,” said Russ Schumacher from Nexus. “We learned from consulting with the board and the community and are making some design adjustments,” he said.
Brian Lonquist from Nexus said they would break ground on the Early Childhood Education addition late this summer and complete work next summer. A detailed schedule will be available at the next board meeting.
Special Education staff met with Nexus; they had input about the size of special ed classrooms. In the new design, they will have access to more space than they had before. Ceilings will be updated and the special ed area will have access to an extra early learning classroom.
The 21st century learning room also has the same space as before, but the space is reconfigured. Additional storage spaces were added.
A planned flex area is being revisited; the balcony is being made a much more usable space for students. Windows into the corridor will be added to enhance the natural lighting. Soft furniture and carpet will make the commons area space more comfortable, Schumacher told the board.
Many of these changes will be bid as alternates. The bus garage part of the project will be bid separately in about a month, after the numbers are back on the redesign of the first part of the project.
Art and STEM rooms will stay as they are, but will be bid as alternates to the basic project, so that the board can see what it is getting into and have flexibility going forward.
The parking lot was pulled out of the bid documents, and will be bid to a local contractor after construction is finished. There is also an alternate bid on the south trail to help the district decide if that is a priority after the basic work is completed.
There will be money in the budget to upgrade some of the existing bus garage spaces.
Revised design documents will go out for bids on April 21.
Superintendent Brad Johnson reported that the two-week average number of cases is up to 37.26, including 59 active cases for the county, thirteen of which are students.
Last Friday (April 16) a section of an elementary grade was quarantined. Brad Johnson is hoping the surge doesn’t get any bigger, so that things like prom and graduation can proceed as planned this spring. Ages 10-19 and people in their 40s are the bulk of the current cases. A vaccination clinic is being held so that students can be fully vaccinated by graduation and can participate in ceremonies that are traditional for that time of year.
The board has decided to accept the Minnesota School Board Association proposal to help with the strategic planning process for the district. The process will be scheduled for this summer.
“They will do a great job with us,” said Johnson.
An April 30 meal to recognize school district staff for all the work it has done in response to COVID-19 is being held by the McGregor community. McGregor School Board members are all invited.
Regular Meeting on Monday, April 26, at 6 p.m.
Work Session on Monday, May 3, at 6 p.m.
Graduation on Sunday May 23, at 2 p.m.
Regular Meeting on Monday, May 24, at 6 p.m.