OPN: Progress on new middle school is ‘very good’

School Board
Pete Temple
Express Associate Editor

Construction progress on the new Monticello Middle School has been “very good,” according to Chad Schumacher, construction administrator for OPN Architects. 

Schumacher and OPN associate Katie Harms were on hand for the Monticello School Board’s meeting of Dec. 16 to update the board on the work being done by Portzen Construction. 

“They are hitting their marks,” Schumacher said. “Some things have been delayed a little bit, but other things are ahead of schedule, so they’re feeling that they’re still going to be able to hit that July 17 mark.” 

Schumacher offered a slide show to display the progress. The middle school building will include three sections: Area A, which connects with the high school and will include the middle school entry and main office; Area B, which includes the gymnasium; and Area C, which is the southernmost section and will include classroom, kitchen and commons space. Areas A and B are the furthest along; Area C has just begun to put up the concrete walls. 

Also under construction is the main entrance to the high school which, when completed, will offer a giant Panther logo on the outside that will be back-lit at night, and on the inside, a large vestibule/waiting area that leads to the office and other parts of the high school building. The new district office is part of that construction as well. 

Harms showed several slides with ideas for wall graphics on the inside of both the high school main entrance and the new middle school. 

Interventionist position added 

Also at the meeting, the board approved a new position, that of elementary at-risk interventionist, to deal with increased behavioral issues at Shannon and Carpenter elementary schools. 

“We have been having an increase in behavioral issues at the elementary level,” Superintendent Brian Jaeger said, who added that this has been happening in other Grant Wood area school districts as well. 

“Part of the issue is how much time it’s taking away from our other kids, our teachers and the rest of our staff. Ultimately it boils down to lower quality of instruction.” 

Elementary principal Denny Folken told the board that having such a person available would enable teachers to either handle behavioral problems while the interventionist then watches the class, or stay with the class and have the interventionist deal with the problem. 

This, Folken said, would allow teachers to “continue with instruction and not miss out on as many minutes as we currently are. 

“We see this as somebody that is hands-on, going where they’re needed, developing a rapport with as many kids as possible but for sure those kids that display chronic behaviors and office referrals and things like that,” Folken added. 

The board approved adding the position. 

In other board business: 

• In keeping with a new state law requiring school districts to begin purchasing buses equipped with lap and shoulder seat belts, the board approved the first reading of a policy pertaining to that. 

The law took effect Oct. 2. It does not require districts to put seat belts in current buses. Those will be cycled out over time, but any new bus purchased will include seat belts. 

• As part of the consent agenda, the board approved the following personnel items: 

Resignations: Brent Meier as middle school principal (see article in Dec. 18 Express), and Natalee Herrig as special education child specific associate at the high school. 

Appointments: Brian Kramer as assistant varsity wrestling coach, and Chance Manternach as middle school boys basketball coach. 

Transfer: Jen Uthoff, from special education program associate at the high school to special education child specific associate at the high school. 

• The board approved a construction change order from Portzen Construction for the middle school project, crediting the district in the amount of $1,143.78. 

• Board vice president Craig Stadtmueller was appointed to serve on the Jones County Conference Board. 

• The board approved the second and final reading of a board policy pertaining to warning system and emergency plans. 

• The board approved the first reading of two board policies, pertaining to post-secondary enrollment option guidelines and to the concurrent enrollment agreement form. 


Subscriber Login