Members of the community are invited to drop by to see what taxpayers have made possible when the $79 million new Belleville High School complex opens its doors for public inspection at 10 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 18.
At Monday’s [July 23] School Board meeting, School Supt. Michael Van Tassel announced that the ribbon cutting will be at 10 a.m., at a spot in the school yet to be determined, and the building will be open until 5 p.m. for people to walk around and inspect.
The parking will be on either gravel or paved surface, yet to be determined, depending on how much outside work is completed.
Supt. Van Tassel said they are currently inviting speakers and working on details for the event.
School Board President Martha Toth said she is sure the public will be very impressed with the building.
Paul Wills, of Plante Moran CRESA, which has been overseeing the construction project, said the athletic wing, media center, and classroom towers are currently being commissioned and the demolition of the old building is almost done.
He said the project is substantially complete and there is $368,500 that still could be used for items allowed by laws governing the bond issue.
He said work continues on the cafeteria/ commons roof-raising and rebuilding. He said the roof will be 32’ high and the new trusses are in place. He said the trusses were delivered recently in the middle of the night to make transport through the city easier.
He said the project is actually one year ahead of schedule. The school board had approved an accelerated construction schedule which worked out well.
School Board secretary Kevin English reported seeing an ocean of chairs in the new building after they were delivered and waiting to be put where they belong.
Wills also reported on the renovations to South Middle School paid with money from the Sinking Fund. Work includes renovations of the kitchen to provide for the food preparation that needs to be done to feed BHS students while the cafeteria / commons area is being rebuilt through the end of the year.
Besides the kitchen, interior and exterior
work is being done at South, including a new parking lot, sidewalks, ADA curbs, interior corridor, windows, new entrance doors, and ceilings.
The work at South is expected to be substantially completed by Aug. 15.
Director of Buildings and Grounds James Williams announced the Facility Usage Plan Update, which lists four different categories of users and the different fees for using the new facilities. This will be posted on the district website.
Williams said he set up a committee to help with the plan for using the new school facilities and they contacted other districts to see how they did it. Supt. Van Tassel and his designee have the power to set up the plan and tweak it, as needed.
The categories of those who can use the building range from school and school-related groups, to community organizations who do not charge admission, community groups that charge admission, and organizations not located in the community/commercial ventures.
In other business at Monday’s meeting, the School Board:
• Approved a one-year contract for Kelleen Villa as principal of Savage Elementary School at a salary of $86,873, plus fringes. Villa has been employed by the district since 1996 as an elementary teacher;
• Approved a one-year contract for Rebecca Smith as assistant principal at South Intermediate School (formerly South Middle School) at a salary of $90,119, plus fringes. Smith has been employed by the district since 1996 as an elementary teacher at Savage;
• Recalled eight more teachers from layoff: Heather Bell, NMS; Mark Darket, BHS; Kimberly Glime, Art; Chelsee Harris, BHS; Andrew Hartman, BHS; Marcus Hosman, BHS; Kristy Hickson, Art; and Michael Koebbe, BHS;
• Hired John-Raul Buison and Sylvia Camarena to teach Spanish at BHS, and Jonathon Richards as a media specialist at SMS;
• Approved the requested retirements of Karen White-Twigg, after 38 years of teaching, and Rowena Zimmerman, after 28 years of teaching; the resignation of Susan Fleming, Haggerty Principal, for other employment; and Karen Dewulf of NMS for personal reasons;
• Approved the termination of Nancy Stoddart, whose 10-year, part-time job as NMS secretary was eliminated; and Michelle Kovach, technology specialist for five years, who left for other employment;
• Approved spending $31,154 out of the Errors and Omissions contingency bond line item to reconfigure the exhaust fans from the rest rooms in the new BHS classroom towers for more efficient operation. “It’s always good to have good toilet exhaust,” commended Board Trustee Sherry Frazier;
• Approved spending $112,484.89 out of bond funds for new equipment for Green Initiative maintenance of the high school building and athletics fields, plus athletic boards to hold records for track/field and swimming;
• Reviewed the Bullying Policy, which the board passed in February as required by the state. Director of Human Resources Shonta Langford-Green said the policy has been sent out to all buildings and administrators will be trained in how to recognize bullying and write up the necessary reports. Every July there will be a report to the board on verifiable bullying. Green said so far this year there have been three bullying reports, but they were not properly documented and thus not verifiable;
• Reviewed the most recent Michigan Profile for Healthy Youth (MiPHY) self-reporting, internet survey of Van Buren students taken last spring by 361 seventh graders, 295 ninth graders, and 241 eleventh graders. The questions were on alcohol and drug use, tobacco, violence, family and school domain, physical activity, weights and nutrition, and sexual behavior. The results will be used to apply for grants;
• Discussed the minutes of the June 27 disciplinary hearing for administrator Karen Mida because Trustee Scott Russell objected to the wording. He said he asked the district’s attorney who exactly was bound by the attorney-client privilege that prohibited divulging information discussed in closed session. Russell said the attorney said only the attorney was bound by that. The minutes were amended to reflect Russell’s concern;
• Was informed by Trustee Brent Mikulski that the annual Salvation Army Back to School Blitz (“Stuff a Bus”) to gather school supplies to put in backpacks for students in need will be held on Aug. 25 at the Twisted Rooster. He said the Wayne County Sheriff donated $2,500 to get the project started. A list of suggested items for donation by the public will be put on the district’s website; and
• Was reminded the next scheduled meeting of the school board is 7 p.m. Aug. 13.