MP school district making grounds, tech improvements this summer

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


Just two weeks into summer, the Mt. Pleasant Community School District is focused on making improvements for the 2018-2019 school year.

During the school board meeting on Monday, June 11, the board discussed progress on paving the Mapleleaf Athletic Complex parking lot, support for pickleball courts at the middle school and various improvement projects at the schools.

If the rain holds off Tuesday and Wednesday, laying concrete for the curbs and gutters along the Mapleleaf parking lot should commence along with sidewalk work next week. Myers Construction will be on site by July 1 for 10 days to install pavers.

Even as construction moves forward, however, school officials have been alerted to a question of what the real property lines of Mapleleaf are. Before beginning the parking lot project, the land was surveyed by Lance Surveying, who found that the east boundary of the property was a few feet in from the established tree line, which the district had used to define their property from the neighbors.

The fence along the baseball field also encroaches on the adjoining property by a couple feet. MPCSD Superintendent John Henriksen said they have consulted their attorney.

During a public hearing, there were no comments received regarding the real property line of Mapleleaf. The board approved a resolution for a conveyance of real property at Mapleleaf.

The board also approved district support for repurposing the tennis courts at the Mt. Pleasant Middle School to pickleball courts. Henriksen said a committee has already begun the groundwork to raise money for the project and is gathering community interest.

John Roederer, who is on the pickleball committee, said that the students already love to play pickleball at the school indoors, which is why they began looking at the middle school as a site for an outdoor pickleball court. He believes six pickleball courts can be built on that site.

Middle school teachers like Adam Smith and Julie Gilmore are already incorporating pickleball as part of their curriculum and students at The REC Center ask to play it in their after school program, Roederer said.

Melinda Housinga, who is also on the pickleball committee, said she recently met with Parks and Rec to request adding shadow lines on the tennis courts at East Lake Park to have more outdoor pickleball courts available to the community as they begin raising money for the middle school courts.

The pickleball committee plans on fundraising within the community, looking into grant opportunities and requesting support from community partners for the pickleball courts.

Other improvement projects this summer include district security upgrades. Henriksen said he didn?t think there were any security issues after a walk-through of the schools in March and a second walk-through with security technology vendors in May, however they will be doing upgrades.

During the walk-through, they marked the number of electronic access doors and main entrances, where cameras enable office personnel to see who is at the entrance, speak to that person, ask them the nature of their visit and buzz them into the school.

The elementary schools will have an upgraded camera system. In Harlan Elementary School, for example, this camera system will include a small flat screen TV so office secretaries and principals are able to livestream what the cameras see.

The improvements, which will be made by Integrated Tech Partners, will cost the district $85,700.

In curriculum improvements, the board approved purchasing 160 MacBook Airs with cases, shoulder straps, computer carts and software installed along with 15 new iPads for about $172,000 from the physical plant and equipment spending levy. The board also approved insuring the devices for just over $50 a computer.

?It?s a lot of money,? Henriksen admitted. ?But I think it?s money well spent.?

Middle school principal Nathan Lange said that there were 27 damaged computers from the sixth-grade class this past year vs. 14 damaged computers from the now ninth-grade class over three years.

Lange said the Tech Committee needs to make a decision about how to go about probation periods regarding the use of computers to ensure minimal damage. Another factor toward the number of damaged computers were faulty cases purchased by the district last year. Lange said the cases, when closed, created pressure that cracked 40 computer screens in about the same spot.

?We won?t make that mistake again,? Lange said.

In other news the school district was once again awarded a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Association of School Business Officials International. Henriksen thanked Director of Business and Finance and board secretary Ed Chabal for the work he does to make this happen.

?I want to honor Ed for all the work he does,? Henriksen said.

The next MPCSD board meeting is Monday, July 9.