Wednesday, October 10th, 2012
By Amy Kronenberger
Parkway board approves bids for athletic building
  ROCKFORD - Bids came in below estimate for a new athletic building at Parkway stadium.
School board members on Tuesday approved low bids totaling $307,676 to build the new facility, which will house restrooms, ticket booths and concessions for the football stadium and baseball diamonds.
Westerheide Developers, Sidney, submitted the low bid of $214,800 for general construction. Eight other contractors submitted construction bids, with the highest being $251,100.
The lowest bid submitted for plumbing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning was $56,476 from Ayers Mechanical, Van Wert. Six other contractors submitted a bid for plumbing and HVAC, with the highest at $91,200 from Miller Contracting Group, Ottoville.
Koester Electric, Coldwater, submitted the lowest electrical bid at $36,400. The highest of six other bidders was $60,000 from Heyne Construction in Minster.
The 40-by-60 foot building will be made of split-faced block to match the school and will be located between the football stadium and the baseball diamonds.
The $307,676 project will be paid with leftover funds from the school construction project. The state officially closed out the K-12 school building project in May, six years after the school's completion.
In June, school board members transferred $703,745 of the $1.1 million leftover into the permanent improvement fund. The remaining $409,045 was transferred into the district's bond retirement fund to pay down the debt on the levy.
Any money not put toward debt payment must be put toward building maintenance and projects within the district.
Superintendent Greg Puthoff said work should begin before the end of this year's football season.
"We've been waiting six years to close out this money," he said. "We desperately need new restrooms."
Also at Tuesday's meeting, parent Rob Rutledge asked board members if they made a decision about relaxing the busing options for students with divorced parents.
Last month Rutledge spoke with school board members about the difficulties he has with bus transportation due to his daughter's living with him on some days and his wife on other days. The school's current policy says a child can be on only one bus route.
His daughter rides a bus to her mother's house but has to wait for him to pick her up on certain days since she cannot ride another bus to his house.  
The board on Tuesday said they would not change the policy.
"It just gets out of control if all these kids have different and changing schedules," board member Kim Brandt said. "Bus drivers and teachers already have too much to deal with."
"Basically, it comes down to the safest thing for every student," Puthoff added.
Rutledge suggested changing the policy only for older kids who are responsible enough to remember their own schedule. The school board maintained it would still open up the school to liability issues.
Rutledge also reiterated that his busing issue began because the school cut its afterschool program this year.
For the last six years, the school has offered an afterschool program funded with $400,000 in 21st Century grants. Officials initially told Rutledge the program was cut because the district didn't qualify for the grant. However, after Rutledge looked into the matter, school officials learned the district never applied for the grant due to miscommunication.
A grant writer at the Mercer County Educational Service Center handled the grants for Parkway in the past. Puthoff said he told this person to apply for the grant; however, this person said he or she never received that confirmation.
"It's ultimately my fault because it's my job to make sure these things get done," Puthoff said.
Puthoff said he will look into applying for the grant again next year and try to set up some kind of afterschool program by Jan. 1.
In other action, the board,
• learned high school principal Brian Fortkamp is looking into a new after-prom venue outside the school to keep students interested. He said after-prom attendance has been steadily dropping over the years and kids have told him the event is "lame." He would like to bus the students to another location.
• established the district tuition rate of $4,320.57 for this school year.
• approved two overnight field trips for Future Business Leaders of America for leadership conferences in Indianapolis, Ind., and Columbus. The Indianapolis trip is Nov. 2-3, and the Columbus trip is March 5-9.
• approved Lisa Ontrop as a tutor for one student at a rate of $14 per hour.
• rescheduled the next board meeting from Nov. 13 to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 8.
• met in executive session to discuss negotiations and confidential matters as required by federal/state laws and statutes. No action was taken following the session.
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