Highland News Leader

Architects provide cost estimate for proposed conditioning facility at HHS

The Highland School District now has a rough estimate of what it may cost to build a new conditioning facility at Highland High School.

During the Highland School Board meeting on July 23, Art Hayhurst of FGM Architects gave a short presentation explained why the project could cost the district roughly $1.5 to $1.8 million.

“We feel that these numbers are more than enough,” Hayhurst said.

The board has been considering revamping its athletic facilities for about a year.

Initially, the district considered installing a synthetic turf field using pledged funds for advertisements. It was then proposed that extra funds raised through the project could have helped to upgrade the stadium locker rooms, school’s weight room, which was added with the school’s construction in 1979 and the athletic department’s current training facility, which is currently inside a shed on the south side of the football stadium.

However, after deliberating for several months, the board decided to go a different direction because of the project’s risk.

After the decision, the board was approached about the possibility of constructing a new conditioning facility and renovating the stadium locker rooms, both of which were eventually added to the district’s amended five-year facility plan.

However, after frustration was voiced by HHS athletes and their parents, the board officially approved stadium locker room renovations and agreed to look into the conditioning facility project in May.

Since that time, a committee has been formed to help design what the project could look like.

Superintendent Mike Sutton initially estimated that the project could cost about $1 million. This cost would cover the construction of the facility, but would not provide for any new equipment.

Hayhurst said that the numbers provided by his company were for a basic pre-engineered building. However, the estimates also included features that have been added throughout the discussion of the project.

“We have had a few meetings and things grow when you have meetings,” Hayhurst said.

These additions include higher ceilings to accommodate for volleyball and batting cages. The estimate also included the cost for a 10-foot concrete wall that would encircle the inside of the building. Hayhurst said the purpose of this wall would be to protect the building from wear and tear from playing sports inside.

“You are really close to $1.5 million for this facility,” Hayhurst said during the meeting.

Hayhurst also presented an additional option that would be more expensive at roughly $1.8 million. This building would use insulated block all the way around the building.

“Everything else basically stays the same,” Hayhurst said.

However, after examining the proposed prices, board member Zach Lewis found some inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the estimate. Hayhurst said that he would provide the board with a corrected estimate at a later date.

The News Leader requested a corrected estimate from FGM Architects and the Highland School District, but the information has not yet been provided.

At the end of the meeting, no decisions on the project were made. Sutton said moving forward the district will bring the project committee back together to discuss the project further and hopes to bring the discussion back to next month’s board meeting.

“Right now, I just think we take what we got under advisement and mull it over for a while,” Sutton said.

Agriculture education report

Larry Jones, Don Schmitz and Rene Barr from Highland High School’s Agricultural Sciences Department gave their annual report to the board.

Jones gave an overview of the agricultural curriculum. He relayed which classes are still available.

Jones also touched on a recent opportunity the district shared with Trouw Nutrition, a feed specialties, premixes and nutritional business in the animal nutrition industry. The district recently agreed to send one of their students to Trouw, who worked in the feed plant as part of the partnership. In return, Jones said the student would receive compensation for part of their college and a potential position at the business.

“It worked out well this year,” Jones said.

Jones said that he will meet with the business in a few weeks to see if the partnership can continue so other students may benefit from it.

Jones also touched on their funding, as the department had an increase in funding this year.

“It’s helped to enhance our programs,” Jones said.

This year the additional funding helped to purchase science equipment for agricultural science and pre-vet classes.

“Several of our students take these classes, and we want them to have knowledge of the newest equipment available for our students going into the ag industry,” Jones said.

Jones passed the presentation off onto Schmitz, who touched on the highlights of the FFA program this year.

Schmitz told the board the chapter ended up in the top 25 programs in the state this year with its program of activities. Those programs include officer work days and retreats, safety day, career development events and more.

“We are very close to top chapters in our section,” Schmitz said.

A major highlight Schmitz touched on was the FFA auction in March. This year the chapter was able to raise about $19,000, according to Schmitz.

Barr took up after Schmitz with an update on Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE), a four-year record book project for students. Barr also touched on some other department achievements, including degrees students earned through record book keeping and the development of new FFA honor cords for graduation.

“Our seniors were pretty proud about that,” Barr said.

Barr also explained a recent project to help the Madison County Fair Board. As repayment to the board for letting the program use the fair’s property for free on a regular basis, the students agreed to help paint the inside of the show barn at the Madison County Fairgrounds at Lindendale Park.

“So, in about four hours, we had about 30 kids paint 17,000 square feet of show barn,” Barr said.

Overnight trip

Sutton informed the board of one upcoming overnight trip for the Highland High School Cross Country Team.

From Aug. 11- 10, the team will travel to Camp Wartburg in Waterloo for their cross country camp.

This is an annual trip, according to Sutton. Overnight trips do not require board approval.


The board approved the following resignations:

  • Hilary Wagenblast, Spanish teacher at Highland High School;
  • Jody Durbin, girls and boys track team coach at Highland Middle School;
  • Catelyn Lowe, cheerleading coach at Highland Middle School; and
  • Bria Richter, special education teacher at Highland High School.

The board approved the following new personnel:

  • Lauren Eilers, Pre-K teacher at Alhambra Primary School;
  • Jamie Keys, music and assistant band at Highland High School, Alhambra Primary School and Grantfork Elementary School;
  • Karen Twyford, the new Spanish Department chair at Highland High School;
  • Marilyn Bloemker, cheerleading coach at Highland Middle School;
  • Derek Reckmann, volunteer eighth-grade baseball coach at Highland Middle School;
  • Tammy Reichmann, program assistant at Highland Primary School;
  • Tate Gehrig, program assistant at Highland Middle School.
  • Amy Cope, a Spanish teacher at Highland High School;
  • Heather Drazen, a program assistant at Highland Primary School; and
  • Jeanne Cotter, partime tech integration teacher at Highland Middle.

Grant approved

The board approved Rene Barr, an agricultural teacher and FFA adviser at Highland High School, to participate in the Three Circles Grant program.

The grant provides supplemental income for Barr’s summer work, and needs to be approved by the board each year.

Designated depository approved

The board approved the district’s designated depositories. This allows the district’s Business Manager Tim Bair, who also operates as treasurer, to use the specified banks. to deposit district funds and monies.

The depositories include KS State Bank, Rockford Bank and Trust, State Bank of India-Chicago and TAB Bank.

Budget to be on display

The board authorized Bair to put the budget for the 2018-2019 school year on public display. The budget will be on display from Aug. 24 to Sept. 24.

Expulsion reduced

After executive session, the board moved to reduce the time for a student expulsion.

Parents of an expelled student can request a hearing to have the expulsion reduced, after which the board can make the decision whether or not to reduce the expulsion. The reduction was reduced by one year, which will allow the student to come back to Highland.