Board members present were Kenny Golden, president; Ben Roland, vice
president; Tina Warfel; Leslie Starasta; Kenda Kitner; and Mark
Mathon. Superintendent Jennifer Hamm was also present.
Mark Graves of CTS was present to outline the potential contract
for initial construction, involving mechanical and electrical
upgrades as well as the installation of new windows.
Within the contract, the board still has a choice to make on
which model of heating and air-conditioning system they wish to have
installed. There are two options available, with the more expensive
model allowing for a possible geothermal connection in the future.
In either case, Graves told the board that CTS will be able to
use a lot of the current piping found in the school, which should
help save on some costs. The budget CTS presented came to a total of
The board is expected to make a decision before next month as to
which model of HVAC system will be installed. The contract was still
approved by the board, as the exact details (such as HVAC systems)
can be ironed out afterward.
Jean Underwood of BLDD was also present to provide a possible
contract for their part in the construction, which focuses more on
the inside of the building. Initially, BLDD was hoping to operate
under a total expenditure of $956,000 for construction. However,
estimates for work and materials came to $984,000. Underwood said
this was still an estimate, and if work bids still surpass the lower
total, a number of items can be removed from the school's list of
projects in order to cut costs. Once the bids come in, in March, CEL
will take a closer look at the document.
The BLDD contract for services rendered so far -- designing,
planning and other pre-construction services -- was approved by the
Finally, the CEL board approved the resolution to sell general
obligation bonds at a revised price of $2.075 million. As a result,
the actual sale of bonds can be authorized next month, and the board
can sell bonds in a higher amount if necessary, up to $2.5 million.
The board is expected to vote next month on a resolution to use debt
certificates to pay for remaining costs.
New board member
As the meeting began, a new board member was sworn in. Mark
Mathon is the newest member of the CEL Board of Education. Mathon
took a seat at the table for his first official night as board
The CEL board had been seeking a new board member since November,
when the resignation of two former board members caused some
rearranging in the group's makeup.
[to top of second column]
Letter from Larry Hall
Before the meeting could lead into any discussion concerning
renovations and contracts, the board president, Kenny Golden, read a
letter of apology from board member Larry Hall, who was absent.
Hall expressed his regrets for his outburst of frustration and
language at the January meeting. Hall cited the situation at hand,
as well as family health problems, both of which contributed to his
stress. Hall's letter concluded, stating that he intends to return
in March and finish his term on the board.
Concerns from the public
Jim Rohrer addressed the board members after the letter was read.
Rohrer said he was concerned about the lack of action taken by
the board to approve a hearing that was held prior to the January
meeting. The hearing concerned the board's intent to sell general
obligation bonds to pay for school improvements.
Rohrer's concern was that the board should have taken action at a
previous meeting in order to approve the hearing. Tom Crabtree of
Stifel Nicolaus, the financial company CEL is working with to sell
the bonds, explained to Rohrer that the only action the board had to
take was the announcement placed in a newspaper. The announcement
merely covers the intent to have a hearing; the bonds will not be
sold until next month.
Rohrer voiced a second concern that the board members were not
providing adequate information to the public, citing a lack of
response to written questions Rohrer had submitted. Golden and
Superintendent Jennifer Hamm told Rohrer they were open to
Rohrer responded, saying that he believes he has given the board
enough opportunity to answer his questions and that the board has
violated the Open Meetings Act.
Hamm denied that the board had violated that law.
Hamm took the opportunity to try to dispel rumors that the board
members have been meeting in secret. The presence of more than two
board members in a given location outside of the school to discuss
business is illegal. Hamm added that the board has taken every
possible step to ensure that has not happened.
[By DEREK HURLEY]