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  • Fairbury News staff

Future school projects proposed

Superintendent Paula Crane shows plans for a future gym at PCE in Fairbury to the school board.

Future projects took center stage at the December meeting of the Prairie Central Board of Education this week.

Prairie Central Superintendent Paula Crane reported information has been collected on the purchase and installation of new bleachers for the football field. Lighting will be inspected soon and the current estimate for home and visitor bleachers is around $600,000. This does not include possible new lighting, sidewalks, storage and a different entrance.

“It’s obvious the (current) bleachers have got to go,” Crane told the board.

Bids would need to go out early in the year with the project taking place between track and football season.

“We definitely need to stay on top of our engineer to get this done,” said board president Mark Slagel.

Other work which needs to be done includes partial roofs at PCHS and the elementary school in Chenoa. High school work will occur above the senior area and office while there are also two sections of roof at Chenoa. The work has to be done this summer, according to Crane.

A future project includes the addition of a gymnasium at Prairie Central Elementary in Fairbury to provide physical activity for students during the day. The estimated cost is $3.6 million and this would include a full-size floor with bleachers. The gym could be used for high school practices or other events. Sales tax or life safety money could be used toward this.

The structure would be directly behind the existing cafeteria and gym to the west. This is just preliminary as discussions are just beginning and numbers are being collected.

Another project includes adding a vestibule area in Chatsworth with a pass-through window to improve security at an approximate cost of $25,000. Plus, the high school gym floor is in disrepair and can no longer be sanded. If the floor contains asbestos, the cost for replacement could reach $350,000.

Since the state has been making payments and the new wind farm turbines should bring the district around $1 million a year, this would be helpful to get the projects completed. Crane said a timeline has not been determined for every project and additional projects are being investigated.

In another matter, the board approved the Prairie Central Junior High improvement plan which was presented by PCJH principal Kristal Deming. Due to a designation last year, the school was given the Illinois Quality Framework Supporting Rubric. PCJH is at “accomplished” in seven standards which means it is good news but there is room for improvement.

In the plan submitted to the state, they want something you can tie data to. The plan is based on the information from IQFSR.

“The teachers have been highly involved in this,” explained Deming.

The first goal has junior high students increasing growth percentile by 10 in the underperforming student group for the area of math.

“We’ll continue to evaluate our math curriculum.”

This school improvement plan is a working document and must be submitted on June 30. Only one group did not make the progress the state would like but everything else has improved.

During her superintendent report, Crane noted the district has a threat assessment protocol and team in place. Training will take place in January for the group consisting of administrators, a school psychologist, social worker, teacher, school counselor and police officer.

“There’s a protocol that you go through and the administrator may be able to handle it on their own,” said Crane.

The group approved the 2019 tax levy. Each of the numbers are slightly higher than last year as EAV goes up. Crane said she did not levy quite as much in IMRF and Social Security. This allows her to put more in the education fund.

In other action, the board:

-Approved overnight stays for the PCHS boys basketball and wrestling teams in December.

-Purchased a used maintenance truck from K&S Ford in Fairbury.

-Authorized a request to apply for a maintenance project grant of $50,000.

-Renewed the contract of Superintendent Crane through the 2022-23 school year.

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