Welding Classes & Facilities Discussed At Lexington School Board Meeting

The former National Guard Armory is a step closer to housing welding classes.
Several bids related to remodeling the building and installing equipment were approved at Monday night's school board meeting.  An automotive program developed by Lexington Public Schools two years ago already uses part of the building.
Board members approved a bid of $249,200 from low bidder Paulsen, Inc. of Cozad to remodel the interior of the building and install some equipment.
Although there isn't a project completion date, Superintendent John Hakonson said the site won't be ready by the start of the school year.  Instead, welding  classes will be taught at their present location in a building across from the high school.  The classes might be able to relocate after the first quarter of school, estimated Hakonson.
A bid of $27,478 from AirGas for welding parts and equipment was also approved by the board, as was a bid of $95,884 from Matheson for an air compressor and dust collector. 
Hakonson said the dust collection equipment is needed for environmental safety.  "If we would have stayed in that all metal building (by the high school), we would have needed upgrades too," he said.
Hakonson said although the project will cost $350,000 total, a $90,000 grant offered by Orthman Manufacturing will offset costs.  In exchange, Orthman will use the facility for some employee training.
Hakonson said residual funds from the Lexington Middle School /YMCA project could be released from the Lexington Facilities Community Agency to help with the remodel too. Last month the board asked the LFCA to expend $54,246 for a concrete parking lot at the middle school.  Beyond that there is $230,000 remaining, said Hakonson.
He also said since LPS is partnering with Central Community College in the welding classes that will be offered to high school students, it is possible that CCC may contribute some funds for equipment.
Industrial tech teacher Michael Jorgensen is approved to teach three of the four classes being offered as a CCC instructor, and he will take a blueprint class for further certification, said Hakonson.
"For the kid who really wants to do welding, this is a heck of a deal," said Hakonson because students can receive college credit for the classes.
In other business, the board approved a contract with Reach Media Network of Minnesota for equipment, installation and one year's licensing of digital signage systems at Lexington High School, Lexington Middle School and the Majestic Theatre.  Digital signs will be placed on TV screens in school commons areas and hallways.  In addition to announcements, the digital signs could be used to display emergency procedures, student artwork and for streaming games and events, said Hakonson.
The board approved a pay schedule for classified staff and substitute teachers with an average 3.2 percent increase.  
They approved $17,519 for the purchase of novels from BMI Educational Services, Inc. in New Jersey to complete the high school and middle school English/Language Arts curriculum update.
The board approved numerous updates of its policy book, with many due to changes in state statue as recommended by legal counsel.  They also approved student/parent handbooks.
The board approved three transportation requests for use of school buses from Orthman Community YMCA, Royal Family Kids Camp and the Dawson County Ag Society.
The August board meeting will be on Monday August 15th instead of August 8th

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