School board OKs bids for building projects

The Vandalia Board of Education on Tuesday accepted bids for construction work that will allow the district to move students out of Jefferson Primary School.
It also approved a bid for the construction of a maintenance building that will be used by the district for storage.
The bids were approved a little less than two months after the board voted to moved kindergarten and first-grade students from JPS into Vandalia Elementary School, and to relocate fourth-grade students from VES to the junior high school.
Southwestern Construction of Highland submitted the lowest of five bids for work at both VES and VJHS, and Lester Construction of Vandalia was the low bidder for the new maintenance building.
Southwestern’s bid for the VES work was $546,800. Other bidders were: Berco Construction, $548,300; Lester Construction, $609,500; K. Wohltman Construction, $622,357; and Grunloh Construction, $664,000.
For the work at VJHS, Southwestern’s bid was $179,400. Other bids were: Lester Construction, $184,500; K. Wohltman Construction, $199,693; Berco Construction, $230,300; and Grunloh Construction, $234,000.
“We are required by law to take the low bids,” Superintendent Rich Well said, adding that the board had the option of rejecting the bids and soliciting new bids.
The idea of rebidding the work was brought up by board member Jay Smith, who cast a dissenting vote. Smith said that getting new bids would allow contractors to “sharpen their pencils.”
That idea was addressed with the thought that rebidding the work might improve the chances of hiring local contractors.
At VES, the district will reconfigure existing locker room space into two classrooms and restrooms, and reconfigure storage space into classroom space and renovate three adjacent classrooms.
At the junior high school, the district will convert unused storage space on the second floor into three classrooms.
All of the renovations, Well said, can be paid for with life health safety funds.
The new maintenance building will be erected on district-owned property at the southwest corner of Seventh and Orchard streets. That property formerly housed an auto body class at the Okaw Area Vocational Center.
The maintenance building will be used to store desks, tables and other district equipment that is currently being housed at VES and VJHS.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting:
• The board approved the retirements of: John Isringhausen, technology director, June 30, 2017; LaDonna Younker, transportation, June 30, 2017; Harry Durr, transportation, June 30, 2017; Dale Reeves, custodian, Sept. 8, 2017; Larry Walton, Okaw teacher, June 30, 2020; and Joyce Trexler, VES cook, end of this school year.
• The board approved the following transfers: Shelly Forys, VJHS, Title I to fifth grade; Carla Newcomb, VES, third grade to second grade; Joal Donaldson, second grade to technology/digital ethics; and Kate Timmermann, VES fourth grade to VJHS fifth grade.
• The board approved the following resignations: Kelli Rogers, VCHS language arts; Jim Dierkes, from VJHS and VCHS coaching duties; and Brandon Taylor, eighth-grade science.
• The board approved tenure for the following four-year teachers: Darin Dugan, Okaw; Brooke Hoene, VCHS science; Gena Nance, VCHS math; Mark Rinehart, VCHS P.E. and driver’s education; Stephanie Smith, JPS Pre-K; and Rachel Steele, Okaw teacher.
• The board approved the rehiring of the following first-, second- and third-year teachers: Katrina Hanke, VCHS special education; Amanda Kamplain, VCHS math; Jim Dierkes, VCHS/Okaw art; Joey Daniken, VCHS language arts; Michael Hawks, Okaw; Megan Byars, VJHS language arts; Emily Dees, VCHS language arts; Kari Hagy, VJHS guidance; Erin Langston, VES special education; Jay Little, Okaw; Kelcie Matesa, Okaw/VCHS special education; Tammy McKinney, JPS first grade; Miguel Rivers, VJHS band, part-time; Melanie Schuette, VCHS/VJHS band; and Rachel Willenborg, VCHS FCCLA.

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