School to solicit bids for athletic facility

The Willow Springs school board voted last week to accept bids for a new athletic facility. 
The board had discussed the possibility of the facility at other prior meetings and agreed only to solicit bids at their regular meeting Monday, Sept. 12. Bids approved through the process could be accepted or rejected at a later date.
Superintendent Dr. Marty Spence told the board the district has approximately $700,000 remaining in ESSER funding – currently  ESSER III funds, meaning funds from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund as designated under the American Rescue Plan. 
“The board has discussed this facility many times before,” said Spence, adding he was hoping for a green light from the board before moving forward. 
Spence presented the board with a sketch for a 50- by 100-foot building that would cost approximately $360,000 plus equipment. The facility would be built near the current practice fields located below the high school gymnasium and elementary playground. It would include an indoor batting cage, an open area and turf portion for indoor running, plus weight equipment. 
Current plans include utilizing some of the district’s current equipment, and possibly purchasing some while retaining used equipment for a middle school athletic facility in the district’s old gymnasium. Spence said pricing they’ve received for equipment ranged from $95,000 to $175,000.
Spence explained the district plans to purchase a red iron package for the facility, which would include the building pad and construction. Some other tasks – like plumbing and electrical work – could be done by school staff.
Board member Jeff Lovan questioned Spence as to whether this building would suit the district’s needs for years to come. “Is this our ideal building?” he asked.
Spence answered that many on staff had put a great deal of time into the issue and that they believed so.
Board member Brent Colley remarked that a 4,000-square-foot facility had been discussed previously. Spence answered that the additional square footage could be added at a reduced cost in proportion to the remainder of the project. 
Board member Adam Webb asked about the viability of the equipment the district already has, and whether it could be reused in the new facility. He also asked if the board should vote to approve the facility as a whole before voting to solicit bids.
The board ultimately voted to solicit bids for the next project for review at a later date.
In other business:
-The board agreed to move forward with the purchase of the former Missouri Department of Transportation District Headquarters facility from the city of Willow Springs for the cost of $1. The facility will be used to house a career and technical education program, with more discussion planned on that program at the October board meeting.
-The board approved hiring Colleen Whittington as a special education professional, as well as Bryce Duddridge, Sandra Madison, Ashlea Lakey, Kari Pigg, Sandie Rhoades, Courtney Melvin, Carey Coursen, and Brianne Combs as substitute teachers. The board accepted the resignation of Vasiliy Protsenko as assistant technology director.
-The board approved a revised safe return to instruction plan. “We’ve seen (the COVID-19 pandemic) morph and change, and now we’re seeing it fade to the background,” said Spence. The plan still includes a five-day exclusion from class for students who test positive for COVID and retains some practices. “We’ve picked up a lot of good practices from COVID – our hygiene practices, seat charts…but it’s good that were going back the other direction.” The district is now considered to be in Level One, or “normal school.” Moving forward, the plan will be reviewed every six months.
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