A pair of contracts worth a total of $312,390 were approved by the Barron School Board Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, to finance construction of the latest in a three-phase remodeling project at Barron High School.

The board, meeting in regular monthly session at the Barron Area School District administrative building, approved a bid of $276,853 from Rhom Construction, Eau Claire, for general construction and $35,538 from Larson Equipment, Schaumberg, Ill., for casework (wood finishing, etc.).

Andrew Sloan, director of finance for the district, said the work will include the school art room, three adjacent classrooms and a hallway.

“We requested two base bids: one for the general construction of the space and the second for just the casework,” Sloan said in a Tuesday, Jan. 21, email. We have traditionally isolated (casework) to receive better pricing.

Work is scheduled to begin as soon as the school year ends this June and is scheduled for completion by Aug. 14, he added.

“This will allow for our custodial staff to properly prepare the space, and our art department to move into their new space in plenty of time for kids to fully use it next school year,” Sloan said. “We are renovating roughly 3,700 square feet.”

The project continues a phased remodeling of the high school, which is being financed by a promissory note issued by the district for a total of $4.5 million.

Other phases in the project:

• Phase 1 – Technical education and new space for woods, metals and automotive classes.

• Phase 2 – Renovated space for the agriculture department, including a a new greenhouse, and renovated band, choir, and classroom space. The phase also includes mechanical equipment for the southeast wing of the high school, and a new fitness room.

By issuing the new debt at one time and doing the project in phases, the district will avoid “large swings in (the property) tax levy and state aid, due to the timeline of work completion,” Sloan said. “By issuing the debt (at one time), it allowed us to evenly distribute the cost over several years.”

In other business Monday, Jan. 20, the Barron Area School Board:

• Accepted the resignations of Corina Rodrigez, a night cleaner, and Katie Covey, varsity volleyball coach.

• Hired James Pagel, a substitute bus driver.

• Accepted a total of 21 donations from anonymous sources and/or through the DonorsChoose crowdfunding platform, worth a total of nearly $13,000.

• Purchased a new lift for the automotive department at a cost of $15,585. The winning bidder was Twin Cities-based Superior Automotive.

• Okayed renewal of a cooperative hockey program for Barron and five other participating school districts, including Spooner, Shell Lake, Cumberland, Chetek-Weyerhaeuser and Cameron.During the 2020-2021 hockey season, it is anticipated that 16 student athletes will be involved from all of the districts.

• Paid December bills totaling $1,422,345.78.

Attending the meeting were board members Mike Dietrich, Orin Thompson, Danette Hellmann, Dan McNeil, Jeff Nelson, Roxie Micheels, Kelli Rasmussen, Brittany Stephens, Christopher Donica and Diane Tremblay, district administrator.