The Harlan Community School District’s Board of Education has approved the final plans for the Merrill Field Project. In a meeting held Monday, the board made their comments and gathered the final information from Superintendent Justin Wagner before making the motion. Wagner said there are five pieces to take away with the project. “There are really five major parts of this: field turf, resurfacing of the track, the bleachers, lighting and the entrance. If you look at that the cyclone logo will be in the middle, new bleachers on the visitor side and the home side.”
Wagner told the board the figures for bleachers came in slightly lower then originally thought so the plans now include all new bleachers including the elementary bleachers on the north end which was not in the previous plans. The district will be receiving a donation from FMCTC to provide all the boring and trenching for the electrical contractor too which is said to be a huge savings in the project.
With the board’s approval, the next step is FEH Associates to solicit bids for the project. The Harlan School Board also set the date of February 10th at 4:30-pm for a public hearing on the gym air conditioning system for the high school gymnasium.
Board president Bruce Goeser said the system has been discussed for nearly 7 years and is on its last legs. Wagner said the money is there and the energy audit recently done showed the school could save over $20,000 on energy savings with a new system. He said a new system will cost approximately $370,000 and the school district has set $384,000 aside for the project. Once the public hearing is held and bids are approved, the school expects the system to be installed after graduation with a completion date of August 1st.
The board also discussed at length about the drugs and alcohol issue at the school district. In light of recent news, the Harlan Community School District is discussing ways to make a tougher stand on drugs and alcohol use in the district. One topic discussed was the potential to perform random drug testing in the junior high and high school. High School Principal John Connell said it would certainly help. “It is not a thing where we are looking to catch people especially if the first positive is confidential and maybe it let’s the kids get counseling. But the other thing it does is give the kids a chance to say no. If they know they could be tested and they are in that situation, it is easier for them to say no because I could be tested. Where someone is not in extra curricular activities or any other activities, they are not going to get tested and they don’t have a reason to say no.”
The State of Iowa does not allow drug testing on high school students but Wagner said there are some gray areas. No motion was made by the school district and the topic will be discussed further.