Capital outlay expenses see reduction due to COVID-19
By Barbie Porter
Frazee High School students are afforded the opportunity to learn how to build a house from the ground up. Now, cement work could be added to a roster of educational opportunities.
The Frazee-Vergas School Budget and Facilities Committee met on Monday, March 29, during which Superintendent Terry Karger explained the construction trades class will not be building a house next year. Instead, they will be learning cement work.
The cement foundation to be built will include a base for a storage shed that currently has a dirt floor and the cement slab where bleachers will be placed at the main softball diamond.
The discussion came up while the committee reviewed the district’s capital outlay plan. The expenditures planned are noticeably less than most years. Because of the pandemic and the need for distance learning, at times, the district froze curriculum purchases. The new books and materials are on a cycle, and depending on the subject the costs can range from $50,000 to $200,000. With that large expenditure removed from the upcoming year’s capital outlay projects, the amount expected to be spent was reduced to $42,000.
Karger provided the committee members, Tyler Trieglaff and Nathan Matejka, with a breakdown of how the $42,000 would be spent:
• Athletics, $26,500 to purchase a high jump pad, uniforms and bleachers.
Karger said the high jump pad purchase has been pushed back for a number of years and the piece of equipment can no longer be used.
The uniform purchase is part of a cycle that is in place, and the hope is to continue with that practice. Karger said the upcoming cycle is for spring sports. When the uniforms are purchased for varsity, the current varsity uniforms are passed down to junior varsity, and junior varsity to junior high.
The bleachers would be placed at the main softball diamond behind home plate. Karger said there are already two portable bleachers there, and the purchase would offer a third one.
• Outdoor projects, $17,000 for cement work and landscaping by the elementary playground.
The landscaping project would be by the handicap accessible playground behind the elementary. Karger said the landscape improvements would improve drainage and there would be less dirt washing out.
• Custodial, $3,500 to purchase a vacuum and salt spreader.
Karger said the vacuum replacement is a cycle that in place and has worked well, as the vacuums are frequently used.
The salt spreader being considered would provide a vehicle to drop salt on sidewalks around the buildings. Karger said the district does not own one currently, but if one was purchased the district has two custodial workers on duty by 5 a.m. during school days, and they would be able to ensure the walkways are safe in a timely manner before students and staff arrive.
Karger noted there may be funds to assist with the $2,000 salt spreader purchase with workman’s comp, as it has the potential to reduce claims.
Karger explained there were several rounds of cuts made to the capital outlay plan before it was presented to the committee, and the ones remaining were at the top of the to-do list.
The committee also discussed the elementary building, which is in need of maintenance to the brick exterior. Karger said the project is on the district’s radar, as are spots in need of care at the high school. He said quotes are being sought.
The scoreboard at the football field was also brought into the ring of discussion. The scoreboard has been patched up and reportedly fell recently. The district is considering sponsorships and long-term maintenance funding to purchase a new scoreboard. He said one scoreboard that was viewed costs $42,000, but the cost could be reduced if the “umbrella” was removed from the top.
“In today’s world this is considered plain Jane. If you want a scoreboard like Pelican Rapids or Detroit Lakes then you need to put a one in front of it.”Frazee-Vergas Superintendent
The location of the scoreboard has been discussed, as it is not adequately placed away from the football field endzone. The new scoreboard would be moveable. If the track and field were shifted from the current location, the scoreboard could be dismantled and ressembled elsewhere. Karger said funding from the state may be available for such projects, but whether or not the scoreboard could be placed in a new, safer location has yet to be determined.
“If they say it has to go in the same place, then we can move it two or three years down the road,” Karger said. “Now, we don’t have something to move. We have something to tear down.”
In other news
• Karger presented the committee with the fire marshal inspection. The items noted are being corrected.
• A topographical study of school property was discussed.