NEWS

Galva school board green lights athletic complex

Mike Landis

With a near unanimous vote Monday night, the Galva Board of Education approved a bid of $889,970 to move forward with an outdoor physical education and athletic complex project at the junior/senior high.

The bid was awarded to Valley Construction of Rock Island, and work on the project could begin in late March or early April.

Gary Edmonds was the lone board member voting against the project.

The athletic complex will be paid for with a combination of reserves from the district’s facilities fund and the one percent sales tax. The bid includes installation of an eight-lane all-weather track, new lighting, two direction long jump and triple jump runs, pole vault run, sidewalk work and a handicap-accessible platform for seating. The board did not approve fencing, football field irrigation or footings for the visiting bleachers.

The project did spark plenty of public comment from district residents before it came to a vote.

Scott Caravello asked the board if the money would be better spent elsewhere.

Board president Andrew Larson explained two years ago, a community group was formed to consider projects beyond regular maintenance. The two ideas that came to the forefront were the outdoor athletic complex and a gym/community center. The athletic complex rose to the top of the list, and became the priority when district finances allowed.

Larson said the bid process was opened in December — four companies bid on the project. The bids were returned in January and set for action in February.

Destiny Engels questioned the benefits of building an outdoor track.

“You’re excluding a huge portion of students,” Engels said. “We have more students than we have athletes here.”

Tim Foley countered that all district students would be utilizing the track in P.E. classes.

“It will benefit every child in the district,” Foley said. “I do think it’s a good investment for the school.”

Jeff Olson asked the board if any private money was used to fund the project — the answer to that question was no.

He suggested additional educational opportunities — a math and science wing, or greater emphasis on trade and ag programs — as better use of the district’s money.

Olson also urged the board to consider the condition of the district’s buildings, especially the elementary school.

Dan Meyer voiced his support for the outdoor athletic complex.

“If we have the money that we need do this project with, I say go for it,” Meyer said.

Edmonds made a motion to table the project, but that died for lack of a second.

Edmonds said he conducted a survey of the district’s faculty and provided a list of 10 projects to rank in order of priority. He received 21 of the 40 surveys back, and the outdoor athletic complex was near the bottom on all of the surveys.

With construction beginning soon, the Galva High School and Junior High track and field teams will not have any home meets this spring.

Superintendent Doug O’Riley said Valley Construction believes the project will be complete by August. If it’s not and carries over into football season, O’Riley said there is a contingency plan in place to play all home games at Oneida. He added that Galva is slated to host games on the back half of the 2017 Mid-County football schedule — late September and October — which provides the contractor with a little cushion beyond August.

The first track meets will be hosted in the spring of 2018.

In other board business Monday night:

 Board members John VanDeVelde, Jeff Hawes and Laura Heinrich were selected for the board’s bargaining committee.

 O’Riley said the district will be replacing the incandescent lights in the high school gym with LED lights. He hopes much of that project will be funded through grants from Ameren.

 The board approved a one-year bus lease with Midwest Transit at a cost of $16,487 for the terms of July 1, 2017, to July 1, 2018.

 The board approved a March trip to Tennessee for the Galva High School softball team, pending some transportation logistics to be worked out.

The trip is March 24-29 and includes four tournament games in the Nashville, Tenn., area and possibly a game on the way home in the St. Louis area.

 The following employment items were approved — the maternity leave request of Kayla Lucas; Stacey Down as the long-term sub for Lucas; Rob Weston as a volunteer softball coach; Stephanie Adams as student teacher in Mrs. Main’s classroom for second semester; the transfer of Kurt Meyer from junior high boys track coach to high school girls track coach; and Tayler Kuenneth as junior high boys track coach.