Vicksburg School Buildings in Second Phase of Repairs

By Sue Moore

A new round of issuing bonds for summer projects to improve the infrastructure of Vicksburg school buildings will be offered in May, Steve Goss, assistant superintendent, told the school board at its February meeting.

“We will raise $4.65 million with this next issue of bonds, which were authorized in May of 2013 by the voters in our school district,” Goss said. “A large number of bids have been received so far and we are doing our due diligence on the companies who have submitted bids. The contracts have come in about 10 percent under our initial budget. This includes work on the high school exterior walls and window upgrades that will mean energy savings and let more light into the classrooms. Roofing at Sunset Elementary and a small portion of the administration building will be done this summer. Four rest rooms will also be remodeled. Access controls on all the buildings are being planned for better safety of the students and teachers.”

Board member Dave Schriemer, commented that “I don’t know anything about concrete, but I feel the administration has anticipated the needs and you have done your homework.” Goss explained that Frederick Construction and Tower Pinkster “have been outstanding with their acumen because they know our buildings so well. This team can anticipate the unknowns and leave enough for contingencies.”

Goss also recommended the replacement and purchase of eight school buses at a cost of $692,584. “This is one third of the fleet. Two thirds of the fleet will be new or less than three years old. It costs us way too much to maintain the older buses, so we feel this is a good move to buy now. Also recommended was purchase of two large SUVs to run the smaller sports teams to their games should result in significant savings. The coaches can drive as they are not required to have a CDL license for these smaller vehicles,” he said.

The board also heard from middle school Principal Laura Kuhlman and Assistant Principal Matt VanDussen about their Professional Learning Community work. “We have been focusing on data, collaborating to find strengths and weaknesses and/or trends that will direct our instruction for achievement. This is a common practice throughout our district,” Kuhlman said.

VanDussen has developed a logistics system to identify where more training is needed for each student, based upon the data for reading and math. “In past years, VMS has scored well in reading, however this year the M-STEP assessment scored the reading and writing together, making it difficult to know why the decline in these areas,” Kuhlman said.

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