New staff for Meeker district

MEEKER | The Meeker BOE met Monday evening primarily to discuss, and in some cases vote on, new personnel and be updated on the high school building project.

NEW PERSONNEL

The two new certified substitute teachers who were present were asked to share a short bio.

Dr. Richard Seklecki is a retired professor of criminology and former police detective, as well as a “proud Vietnam veteran,” he said. “I have at least 25 years of experience behind the podium. I think I can contribute in a very healthy and energetic manner.”

Michael Chepell is a also a veteran and “a transplant from Tucson, Ariz.,” he said. He and his family were on the road for about eight months “traveling and exploring pretty much in the name of educating ourselves and our children about how other cultures live and exposing them to what our country has to offer.”

A third substitute hired was Kenneth Rennick, although he was not present since he previously appeared before the board.

Also hired was Kurt Blunt as assistant wrestling coach for Barone Middle School, replacing district superintendent Chris Selle so he can dedicate more time to the building project. Steve Gianinetti was also hired as a volunteer middle school assistant wrestling coach.

Additionally, there was approval of transferring Lacey Rykhus from second grade to kindergarten for the 2019–20 school year, replacing Jackie Meyer.

The district is also currently advertising for teachers for high school Spanish, high school math/science and an elementary teacher.

To be advertised as well is the position of coordinator of academics, “a catch-all for a lot of things,” Selle said. The salary for this position will most likely be the equivalent of an experienced teacher, between $50,000–70,000.

BUILDING UPDATE

Selle updated the board on the building project using several schematic drawings in 3-D rendering with the roof removed. “This is really a draft of a draft of a draft,” he said. “There are still changes that are going to occur as we progress.” He pointed out the new gymnasium, new offices, new bathrooms, new main entrance (though still on the west side) and many other changes and additions.

Unlike the easy access to the current building through some two dozen entrances, there will be very few in the new building, all of which will be tied to the main office via a monitoring system.

In addition to the approximate $40 million price tag—$39.7 million worth of bonds have been sold—there will also be some logistical challenges. The first goal is to get all the academic areas done by the start of the 2020–21 school year. “The downside of that means that it is pretty likely that for the 2019–20 school year, we’re not going to have access to the auditorium, the auxiliary gym and the wrestling room for a portion of the year,” Selle said. He added that an offsite location might be found for wrestling, the elementary stage could be utilized for programs and the elementary gym could be used for games.

Another challenge will be where to put people during some phases of construction. The desire is to avoid bringing in temporary modular units since this would add thousands of dollars to the project with no return. It will simply be necessary to utilize other space when necessary.

From a master plan that started about two and a half years ago, the project seems to be on track.

 

By DOC WATSON | Special to the Herald Times