School Board to contract with firm to begin land use planningThe Jamestown Public School Board focused on planning Monday as members discussed the 2013-2014 school calendar and future possibilities for development.
By: By Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
The Jamestown Public School Board focused on planning Monday as members discussed the 2013-2014 school calendar and future possibilities for development.
“I was in favor of this a few years ago, and I can see that the costs are only increasing,” said Heidi Larson, board member, of strategic land use planning. “The longer we wait, the more it’s going to cost us.”
The district is already beginning its strategic planning process in general.
“I think this is an important part of the strategic plan,” said Superintendent Bob Toso. “How do we plan for future growth?”
The board decided to contract with Helms & Associates for $12,500 to $17,500 to begin planning for land use in the area around Jamestown High School. The money would come from the district’s contracted services fund and would not increase the school’s deficit, Toso said.
“There’s a lot of exciting things that are going to happen in Jamestown in the near future,” Toso said. “I think if our school district doesn’t plan for it, we’re going to be catching up — and we don’t want to be catching up for that.”
Possible subjects for long-range land planning include the proposed $30 million Two Rivers Activity Center, a community activity center that could include tennis courts, a water park, basketball courts, day care and more. However, other potential future facilities also need to be placed, such as more softball fields.
The School Board hopes to get input from the community, as well as cooperation with Jamestown College and the Jamestown Parks and Recreation Commission.
The School Board also sent a proposed calendar back to the Calendar Committee. Under the proposed calendar, school would have started Aug. 22 and graduation would have occurred Memorial Day weekend.
“It was a strong consensus that we get out at Memorial Day,” Toso said.
However, School Board members agreed school should start later, even if it meant going past Memorial Day in the spring.
“To me it’s a health issue,” said Tanya Ostlie, School Board member, citing concerns about the heat. “We had people getting sick last year. When these brick buildings heat up, it’s really hard to cool them back down.”
Terry Anderson, another School Board member, said the optimum learning time would be more likely to be in the spring than in the hottest part of the summer.
“I would like (the committee) to go back at it again and seriously not start school before Aug. 27 and 28,” said Gail Martin, board member.
In other news Monday, the board:
* received a clean audit for Jamestown Public Schools. No significant deficiencies, material weaknesses or noncompliance issues were found, according to Schauer & Associates.
* reinstated the school’s bullying policy committee in order to evaluate existing policy.
* set a strategic planning meeting to begin at 6 p.m. April 23. Community members interested in attending should contact a school administrator.
* received a list of goals and a timeline for the strategic plan for athletics improvement.
* approved unanimously putting $15,000 toward turning a slowpitch softball diamond into a fastpitch diamond. The Jamestown Parks and Recreation Commission approved $30,000 toward the project and donations of $10,000 have been collected. Jamestown College has not yet committed to the project but will be asked for $15,000.
* directed the Technology Committee to investigate more options for the school’s website, which must be changed because the existing site software will no longer be available. The committee had recommended hiring a part-time webmaster for $10,000 to maintain the site and train others to update it. Other possibilities include getting a college student to do it for class credit instead of pay and requesting grants.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org