The Pine River-Backus School Board received a cost estimate Monday, Jan. 6, for two building projects that are necessary for compliance issues.

Business Manager Jolene Bengtson said the two projects are estimated to cost a combined $500,000. The high school gym, which would account for $200,000 of that cost, needs new bleachers, according to state mandates, and the flooring needs a new logo because of copyright issues.

The project would include new bleachers and refinishing the walls and the floor; however, the school district likely would not update the ceiling until a scheduled future roof repair.

The district is also currently non-compliant in regard to bathrooms on the football field. The field currently uses portable toilets for its restroom needs, but in the past there have not been enough portable toilets and they did not have ramps making them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

For construction of a building housing restrooms and a concession stand, the cost was estimated at $300,000.

Bengtson said it was recommended to split the cost on a hybrid bond similar to the one used to pay for the high school's secure entryway. The school district will have Kodet Architecture create a simpler design for the football field facilities based on a design created for the failed 2019 building bond referendum.

Nothing was finalized at the meeting. More discussion will take place on the building project at the Monday, Feb. 3, board work session and Monday, Feb. 10, regular meeting.

In other business Monday, the board:

  • Re-elected Chris Cunningham as board chair. Dave Sheley was also nominated and the vote was tied 3-3 with the final vote for Cunningham.
  • Elected Sheley as board vice chair. Leslie Bouchonville was also nominated and the vote was again tied 3-3 until the final vote for Sheley.
  • Saw a presentation on the school's Lego League team. Two students attended to represent the team, showing their second place prize won for the custom design of their “Indestructible Tiger-Bot." The team won seventh out of 20 places at its competition in Alexandria, one place short of qualifying for state.
  • Approved a memorandum of understanding with the School Service Employees International Union. The memorandum was designed to resolve an issue that occurred when a specific student left the district. The behavior management specialists managing that student were facing a possible loss in status with the union and a significant pay cut upon being reclassified as paraprofessional.
  • Accepted the resignation of the high school English/language arts teacher Autumn Ladue and authorized posting for a replacement, and the resignation of Carol Christensen, paraprofessional.

  • Approved hiring Susan Harrison as long-term substitute teacher for Laure Marquardt.
  • Adjusted mileage reimbursement rates to match the state minimum, which is now 57.5 cents per mile.
  • Set the Pineandlakes Echo Journal as the official publication and Pine River State Bank and Minnesota School District Liquid Assets fund as official depositories for 2020.