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Architect agreement moves forward
Track repairs, PAC fans approved
new slt school board alt
Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education members hold their December business meeting, Monday at the District Education Center. From left: Lori Reneau, Cheryl Rugan, Susan Young, board president Chris Umphres, Joyce Carter and Kevin Mauler. Not pictured: Dr. Larry Kutina. - photo by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

Great Bend USD 428 will spend nearly $65,000 to repair the track around Memorial Stadium and to add new life to the artificial turf on the high school football field. When the Board of Education met Monday, Superintendent Khris Thexton said bid packets were sent to six contractors last month but only United Sports Systems in Wichita responded.
The track and turf will both be done at the same time and the firm has until April 2 to complete the work.

Architect agreement
The board also gave tentative approval to an agreement with SJCF Architect Group, the firm chosen last month to help the board develop a master plan of projects for the next five to 10 years. For the past year, board members have talked about the need to create a master plan for future projects that would make the best use of buildings for maintenance, safety and instruction.
Thexton said SJCF will charge $18,500 to perform the master plan study, which will begin once the contract is approved and continue into next fall. A proposed timeline starts with architects touring facilities and interviewing building administrators. That will be followed by meetings with community focus groups as well as board members.
Each time someone from the firm visits Great Bend it will cost the district $250 per person per trip.
Some quick mental math based on the proposed timeline caused board member Cheryl Rugan to comment that meetings with the architects could easily add $8,000 to the cost in the next year.
“We want to do this right; I don’t want to be chintzy about it,” she said, adding the “accountant in me is coming out.”
Board members Kevin Mauler and Chris Umphres also commented on the travel costs, and Thexton assured them the architects will consolidate their trips to be as efficient as they can. As for the 20-page agreement presented Monday, he said it appears to be a standard agreement, but he has asked the district’s attorney Mark Rondeau to look it over. The board voted to accept the agreement was contingent on hearing a favorable report from the attorney.

Professional guidance
Assistant Superintendent John Popp said the board ultimately has the final say on whether to move forward with any project suggested.
Thexton agreed.
“These are guidelines,” he said. “It’s not set in stone; this is a broad view, and as the process continues it will keep getting more and more focused.”
Board member Lori Reneau said she especially likes the community involvement that will be part of studying district needs.
“It’s important to have a fresh set of eyes,” board member Joyce Carter said.
Board member Susan Young noted that three new members will join the board next month, and she recalled the “deer in the headlights experience” of being a new board member. Thexton promised transparency throughout the process.
“I don’t ever want this process to feel like a ‘gotcha,’” he said. “I’m going to be learning, too. I’ve never done anything of this scope and magnitude.”

PAC fans
Another big expense approved Monday was for 12 premium efficiency fans for the GBHS Panther Athletic Center. There will be four fans for each court at the PAC, plus two auto controls and shipping, for a total of $9,401. P&S Electric in Great Bend will install the fans over the winter break, and that will cost about $8,000, Thexton said.
The de-stratification style fans will hang from the ceiling and solve an ongoing problem: lack of circulation and certain temperature conditions often cause dripping from the ceiling. Thexton said so far the moisture has not damaged the floors because custodians have wiped it up promptly.