Braham school buildings undergo summer improvement

Roofing, air conditioning, gym flooring, WiFi among projects

School may be out, but there’s still a lot happening at the schools in Braham.

Superintendent Greg Winter updated the School Board on summer construction and improvement projects during the meeting Monday, July 16.

Public school buildings are like any other building or private home. If you do not have continual upkeep, it will fall to such a level of disrepair that it will need to be replaced at a much larger cost,” Winter said. “We are fortunate to have a levy referendum in place to continue the needed maintenance and replacement projects in our buildings.”

A roofing project is taking place this summer to continue the ongoing re-roofing goal. After this summer, sections of the elementary roof will be done for at least 10 years, Winter said.

The secondary roof will need approximately four more years until all sections are completed. With large flat roofs that schools have, only sections at a time can be replaced instead of the whole roof, which would be cost prohibitive, Winter explained.

Much of the funds raised through the levy referendum as promised to the public when it was passed were to replace the roofing that was nearing the end of its warranty.

Winter also explained that the carpeting project that was completed in 2011 was found to have a faulty adhesive that caused the carpeting to shift. Through the contractor and Mohawk carpeting, they will be replacing the carpeting and reinstalling with correct adhesive at no cost to the district.

The remainder of the secondary building—except the gyms and vocational area of the building—will have dehumidification (air-conditioning) units installed.

This is a continuation of the Heat, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC) project that was started three years ago, Winter said. The project will cost $620,000 to complete, with the funds already raised through Alt Facility funding and Health and Safety funding. The project will incur no additional cost to the district other than the funding raised through the sale of these bonds four years ago.

The elementary gym will receive a new floor this summer. When completed in 1994, a tile-over-concrete floor was installed, rendering the gym a safety hazard for the students and useless to after-school sports programs or community use, Winter said.

“A new wood floor will be installed, making it much safer for student use during the school day,” he said. “A wood floor absorbs 60 percent of the impact when a person falls on the floor. A tile-over-concrete floor absorbs little of the impact during a fall by a student or staff and has caused numerous injuries over the past 18 years.”

After this summer, both the Braham elementary and secondary school will have wireless Internet access throughout the building.

The secondary school was rewired last year, Superintendent Winter said. This summer, Tech Check will rewire the infrastructure of the elementary building for $21,575, and Integra will add WiFi throughout both buildings for $52,440.

“As we continue to move into the 21st Century, our buildings need to have the capacity to teach students with the use of technology to prepare them for continual education after graduation and for the job market of the future,” he said.

The system will run at least 30 tablets per classroom at any time, Winter explained. The new wiring has PoE technology, or Power over Ethernet, which is a system to pass electrical power safely, along with data, on Ethernet cabling.

“The biggest reason to do this project is to ready the district for some type of 1:1 initiative for student use of technology,” Winter said. “Many districts throughout the state of Minnesota have already moved to a 1:1 initiative. The installation of district-wide WiFi will position our district to move in this direction.”

A 1:1 initiative means that one wireless laptop or tablet would be available to each student.

Finally, Braham Area Schools continue to improve the aesthetics of the district with some painting projects and miscellaneous landscaping projects, Winter explained. They will also install some additional playground equipment for the early childhood program that has moved down to the elementary school.

“We have to make sure our schools look nice and present to the community the pride our district has in our schools and programming,” he said.

Elementary School Principal search continues

The search for an Elementary School Principal continues, Superintendent Greg Winter told School Board members.

Former Elementary School Principal Randy Pauly resigned in June to accept a position as principal of Isanti Middle School and Minnesota Center, where he began July 1.

Four candidates are scheduled to be interviewed this week, and a new principal will soon be hired, in time for the start of the 2012-2013 school year.

2012-2013 School Board/Administrative Goals

The School Board adopted administrative goals for the 2012-2013 school year:

1. Improvement in and monitoring of grade level standardized test scores.
2. Continuing to improve total school working environment.
3. Community wide promotion of and participation in our schools.
4. Beautification of school grounds.
5. Community based direction of our school to follow, both short and long term objectives included.
6. Implement Best Practices Policy as established by administrators and teachers.

The district is looking to hire a part-time parent engagement coordinator to increase community outreach and community involvement, Superintendent Greg Winter said. The person hired will seek out and define strategies to establish two-way communication with community members and the district.