Connect with us

Community News

Summary of This Week’s School Board Meeting

Published

on

Members of the Community Unit School District 7 Board of Education on Monday night approved a controversial Project Labor Agreement in connection with the construction of a new elementary school, but balked at approving a floor plan for the new building, opting instead to take under advisement two possible configurations proposed by school architect Tom Hyde.

Until Monday night, the board had studied a single configuration. That plan would feature a wide main wing facing east, with two additional classroom wings on the west side of the building. The west wings would have been arrayed in a “V” shape.   A gymnasium and cafeteria facilities would be located at the north end of the main wing.

On Monday, however, Hyde presented a second option that would result in an “H” shaped floor plan.  The main wing would still face east, but a second wing would run parallel to the main wing immediately to the west.  The two wings would be connected by a short corridor at the center of the building.

Hyde said he was recommending the “H” shaped floor plan, in part, because of the results of a study regarding the locating of mine workings under the property.  Hyde said existing mine maps proved to be remarkably accurate.  “The location of the mine turns out to be very accurate,” he said. “We were surprised at how accurate the maps really were.”

The maps were “off” only 20 to 30 feet to the east and 20 to 30 feet to the south, he said.  In both proposals, the main, or front wing, of the building would be located over a barrier panel of solid coal.  Mine workings under the balance of the building would have to be “grouted,” or filled in to preclude the possibility of the building being damaged by mine subsidence.  The district’s seven-year-old Benld Elementary School was destroyed by a mine subsidence event that began in late March 2009.

The new building currently in the planning stages will be located on property formerly owned by Roger and Vicki DeWitt to the west of the existing high school/middle school campus.  Switching to an “H” shaped floor plan would reduce the “footprint” of the building and thereby reduce the amount of grouting needed to protect it from subsidence.

“One change I’m suggesting is to change the configuration of the building to an “H” shape as opposed to the “V” shape to minimize the amount of grouting needed on the west side of the building,” Hyde said.  The budget developed by the Capital Development Board includes about $3 million for grouting.  Changing the shape of the building from a “V” shape to an “H” shape could shave $750,000 to $1 million from the cost of the grouting, according to Hyde.

Advertisement

The school district is the recipient of a $19 million grant through CDB to cover 75 percent of the building’s cost.  The local school district is responsible for 25 percent of the final cost.

Hyde described the grouting budget as a “floating” budget, meaning that an increase in the cost of grouting would not detract from the amount of money available for construction.  By the same token, saving money on grouting will not increase the amount of money available for construction.  An increase in the grouting budget would, however, increase the amount of local money needed to make up the districtÕs 25 percent share of the building cost.

“The budget was built around a certain amount for grouting,” Hyde noted. “If the cost of grouting goes up by $1 million, the grant goes up by $1 million. The cost to you is 25 percent of that.”

“So if additional money is spent on grouting, it does not take away from what we can spend on the school?” Griffel asked.  Both Hyde and Supt. Paul Skeans acknowledged an increase in the cost of grouting would not affect the amount of money available for construction.

“If the budget goes up, I think we have the money to cover it,” Skeans said.

Despite the possible savings in cost, several board members expressed a preference for the floor plan featuring wings arranged in a “V” on the west side of the building.  “This is exactly what I said would happen,” Jenni Alepra, board member, commented.  “The mine is now manipulating the school building.  We’ve got a $25 million project on the table and now we’re going to “settle” on this. Now we”re being told we’re going to be over budget.  This is not where we should be at all.  I thought this was all worked out already. That’s why I’m so frustrated.”

She pointed out that administrators, teachers, and board members had determined the configuration with wings arranged in a “V” would offer better security for the building.  With the classroom wings arrayed in such a fashion, a teacher or administrator could stand in the entry vestibule and have a clear view of all four classroom wings.

“This is a lot safer,” Alepra said, indicating the original floor plan.

Advertisement

Board member Don Dobrino asked Elementary Principal Angela Turcol if she and faculty members had a preference for either of the two plans.  Turcol said teachers were “positive” about either plan.  But she indicated she did not ask them which plan they preferred.

While the H-shaped plan will be more difficult to monitor than the V-shaped plan, Turcol said either plan will be superior to the former Benld Elementary School in terms of security provisions.

“I’m good going either direction,” Hyde said, indicating the board could have another 30 days to make a decision without interfering with the construction timeline established for the project.

Either option, he said, would offer about 70,000 square feet for 39 classrooms, plus a gymnasium and cafeteria, bringing the total building size to about 93,000 square feet.

Griffel expressed concerns about rushing into a decision.
“We’ve been working with the other plan for six or seven months,” he said. “Then we’re presented with another plan and we’re expected to come back with a decision in 30 days.”

Apart from the floor plan question, Hyde also discussed other aspects of the proposed building the district plans to incorporate regardless of which configuration is chosen.  Responding to public comments and faculty requests, Hyde said the new building will include a gymnasium equipped with a stage for performances and other events.

With bleachers capable of seating more than 300 people, the new gym can serve as a venue for sporting events.  For plays, concerts and other events utilizing the stage, there will be enough room on the gym floor for another 500 folding chairs, providing a total seating capacity in excess of 800.

Adjacent to the gym will be a separate cafeteria facility, Hyde said. In the former Benld school the gym and cafeteria shared the same floor space.  Hyde also discussed several grants the district has applied for to help offset the cost of the school building. The school recently applied for a $400,000 Clean Communities Energy grant, a $140,000 energy grant from Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and a $180,000 Energy Efficiency Design grant, also administered by DCEO.  Combined with the $250,000 Pepsi grant secured by the BenGil Boosters, the district stands to land nearly $1 million in grant funds for the school.

Advertisement

The bulk of the money the school has applied for is directed toward encouraging “green” construction and energy efficiency. For example, Hyde said, the new building will be equipped with solar panels and a small wind turbine to generate power and supplement the building’s energy needs.  Hyde said the alternative energy sources should provide 20 to 30 percent of the building’s energy needs.

In other action, the board unanimously approved a resolution to enter into a Project Labor Agreement with Southwestern Illinois Building Trades and Construction Trades Council. PLAs are collective bargaining agreements between the project owner and the trades council to set out basic terms and work conditions for the project. The Elementary School PLA has been on the table for five months and has been the focus of some controversy at past meetings of the board.

“In that time, we’ve had a lot of opportunities to have information passed from both sides,” Skeans told the board, noting he had been working with Dale Stewart of the Trades Council over the weekend to make final adjustments to the PLA. “I think we have a consensus and it is my recommendation that we move forward with the Project Labor Agreement.”

Following an extensive discussion with High School Principal Joe Tieman, the board approved a plan to implement an “eighth period” next school year for sophomores, juniors and seniors.  Tieman said several area schools have adopted the eighth period plan, which is designed to assist students who are struggling in some subjects or who need in-school time for study.

Under the plan, the length of class periods will be reduced to allow for an eighth period at the end of the day.  Students whose grades are high enough to qualify may opt to leave school early.  Other students, especially those who need additional help in some subjects, would stay to the end of the day for study and tutoring.

Tieman said he expects the program to result in higher grade-point averages, better scores on standardized tests and better rates of homework completion.

In the area of personnel, board members voted to appoint Jennifer Brown as High School Student Council sponsor for the 2011-2012 school year, Aaron Cooper as an assistant high school football coach for next school year, and Celia Jubelt as assistant high school volleyball coach for the coming school year.

With Board President Lloyd “Rusty” Bilbruck abstaining from the vote, the board agreed to appoint Bilbruck as a volunteer assistant high school football coach for 2011-2012.  Monday night was Bilbruck‘s last meeting; his term will end with the seating of the new board next week.

Advertisement

Board members accepted the resignation of Jill Rosentreter as middle school volleyball coach and agreed to post the position as vacant for the 2011-2012 school year. Rosentreter has coached the team for 12 years.

On a motion by Alepra, seconded by Hayes, the board voted to hire Jennifer Brown and Rob Macias as summer school teacher, provided there is enough summer school enrollment to offset the cost.  Brown will teach consumer education and driver’s education; Macias will teach driver’s education.

In a related matter, the board agreed to post a vacancy for a cafeteria worker for the summer school session.  Also in the area of personnel, the board approved rehiring the district’s non-certificated staff members for the coming school year.

In other action, the board approved early graduation requests for Hayley Baumann, Jessica Johnston, Owen McGrady, Mikala Tarro, Ally Tieman, Courtney Sellars, and Taylor Wasylenko.  The students will graduate after the completion of their seventh semester provided they have completed all requirements for graduation.

The board also voted unanimously to transfer a middle school student to the Regional Office of Education’s Safe Schools program.

by David Ambrose

Advertisement
Share this story

Comments

comments

Community News

Progressive Club to celebrate 90th anniversary

Published

on

Benld Entreprise

The Wilsonville Progressive Club will celebrate and host a 90 year Anniversary Party on Saturday, May 11. The party will include a catered dinner, a live band, and fireworks.

Doors will open at 2 pm with a catered dinner being served at 4 pm.  The Shane Kessinger Experience (live band) will play at 5 pm, and a grand fireworks display will be held at dusk.

The Progressive Club was originally established in 1934 by the Progressive Miners and was located on the northwest side of Wilsonville’s main street. The Club moved to their new building in January of 1949 and today this is still the current location at 212 Wilson Street in Wilsonville.

Wilsonville was founded in 1917 when Superior Coal Co. Mine No. 4 was sunk and this was the most modern mine in the Superior field. At that time, the little settlement which grew up around the mine was called Wilson. One day a worker paused and asked, “What are we going to name this town?” President Wilson was in office, thus the town was then and there named Wilson until 1919 when it was incorporated and the name expanded to Wilsonville.

The Wilsonville Progressive Club is operated and maintained by an elected panel of trustees and loyal members.  The Club is open to the public and membership is always welcome.  The large outdoor covered pavilion and manicured grassy side lot offer an attractive and convenient venue for any event along with inside facilities. 

If you are interested in renting for any kind of event, call 217-835-3122 during open hours which are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 4 pm to close, and Sunday doors open at 2 pm.  Every Sunday afternoon at 4 pm is the Queen of Hearts drawing and the Club is on Facebook as well.

Advertisement
Share this story

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Community News

Gillespie Police Report: April 14-20, 2024

Published

on

SUNDAY, APRIL 14, 2024

An officer was dispatched to the 100 block of East Oak Street in reference to a dog bite.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of Abba Street to pick up a found item.

An officer was dispatched to the 100 block of East Maple Street in reference to a domestic dispute.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of West Chestnut Street in reference to a burglary.

An officer was out in the 200 block of North Macoupin Street in reference to a motorist assist.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of Schmidt Street in reference to a 911 call.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of South 1st Street in Benld in reference to a domestic dispute.

Advertisement

An officer was dispatched to the 500 block of Broadway Street in reference to a medical call.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of South Illinois Street in Benld in reference to illegal burning.

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of South 5th Street in Benld in reference to an animal complaint.

An officer was dispatched to the 500 block of Horizon Street in reference to a 911 call.

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2024

An officer was dispatched to Gillespie Police Department to speak with a male in reference to a theft in the 100 block of South Main Street in Benld.

An officer was dispatched to the 500 block of West Osie Street in reference to a violation of an order of protection.

Nicholas O. Landolt, 36, of Gillespie was arrested on multiple warrants including one out of St. Clair County for possession for methamphetamine, a second one out of Montgomery County for failure to appear for driving while license was revoked, and a third out of Macoupin County for failure to appear for methamphetamine.

Advertisement

An officer was dispatched to East Walnut Street in reference to a suspicious noise.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of Abba Street in reference to a juvenile issue.

An officer was dispatched to the 500 block of Broadway Street in reference to a medical alarm.

An officer spoke with a male at Gillespie Police Department in reference to a theft in the 200 block of West Oak Street.

An officer spoke with a female at Gillespie Police Department in reference to criminal damage to her property.

An officer spoke with a male at Gillespie Police Department in reference to identity theft.

An officer spoke with a female in the 100 block of North 7th Street in Benld in reference to a neighbor dispute.

An officer spoke with a female at Gillespie Police Department in reference to a violation of an order of protection.

Advertisement

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of Southern Street in reference to a suspicious person.

TUESDAY, APRIL 16, 2024

An officer was dispatched to the 1100 block of South Macoupin Street in reference to criminal damage to property.

An officer was dispatched to the 900 block of South Macoupin Street in reference to a domestic dispute.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of East Walnut Street in reference to criminal trespass to property.

An officer was dispatched to the 600 block of North 7th Street in Benld in reference to criminal trespass to property. Melissa J. Hughes, 49, of Benld was arrested on a Montgomery County warrant for theft/larceny.

An officer was dispatched to the 100 block of East Maple Street in reference to criminal trespass to property.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of Francis Street in reference to a traffic crash.

Advertisement

An officer spoke with a female at Gillespie Police Department in reference to a civil issue in the 700 block of Rose Street in Benld.

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of South 5th Street in Benld in reference to a domestic dispute.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of East Pine Street to assist the Department of Children and Family Services.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of Broadway Street in reference to reckless driving.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of East Central Avenue in Benld in reference to a 911 call.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 2024

An officer spoke with a female at Gillespie Police Department in reference to fraud in the 200 block of South Macoupin.

An officer was dispatched to a business in the 500 block of East Elm Street in reference to criminal trespass to property.

Advertisement

An officer was dispatched to Route 4 and Staunton Road in reference to reckless driving.

An officer was dispatched to the 600 block of Gillespie Street in reference to unwanted solicitors.

An officer was dispatched to High Street and Gillespie Street in reference to a suspicious noise.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of High Street in reference to unwanted solicitors.

An officer spoke with a male at Gillespie Police Department in reference to a civil standby.

An officer was flagged down at Elm Street and Clinton Street and spoke with an individual in reference to a civil issue.

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of Mt. Olive Road in Eagarville in reference to a domestic dispute.

An officer spoke with a male at Gillespie Police Department in reference to a suspicious circumstance.

Advertisement

THURSDAY, APRIL 18, 2024

An officer was dispatched to a business in the 400 block of South Macoupin Street in reference to a panic alarm sounding.

An officer was dispatched to the 1300 block of South Second Street in reference to a civil standby.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of West Osie Street in reference to a dog bite.  Heather L. Kimberlin, 47, of Gillespie was issued a citation for dog at large.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of West Baker Street in reference to a juvenile issue.

An officer was out with a suspicious vehicle in the alley in the 500 block of Park Avenue.

An officer was dispatched to East Walnut and South Main Street in Benld in reference to reckless driving.

An officer was dispatched to the Veterans Memorial Park in Benld in reference to a suspicious vehicle that had been parked there for a couple of days.

Advertisement

Gillespie Police Department was requested for traffic control by the Gillespie Fire Department for a fire on Eagarville Road.

FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2024

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of East Walnut Street in reference to a traffic crash.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of South Street in Gillespie in reference to a juvenile issue.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of Litchfield Road in East Gillespie in reference to a suspicious person at the storage units. Kathy J. Henderson, 49, of Sawyerville was arrested on a Macoupin County warrant for failure to appear for bad checks

An officer initiated a traffic stop at Maple Street and Macoupin Street. Kenny L. Fults, 18, of Belleville was issued a citation for possession of cannabis.

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of Mt. Olive Road in Eagarville in reference to civil standby.

An officer was dispatched to the 500 block of West Burton Street in reference to an animal complaint.

Advertisement

SATURDAY, APRIL 20, 2024

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of Abba Street in reference to a domestic dispute.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of North 7th Street in Benld in reference to criminal trespassing. Timothy J. Dalpozzo, 57, of Benld was arrested for criminal trespassing to residence and a Macoupin County warrant for criminal trespassing to a residence.

An officer initiated a traffic stop at South Street and Chestnut Street and charges are pending crime lab results.

An officer was dispatched to the 100 block of East Maple Street in reference to reckless driving.

An officer was dispatched to Macoupin Street and Elm Street in reference to reckless driving.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of Osie Street in reference to a dog at large.

An officer was dispatched to the 600 block of North 8th Street in Benld in reference to medical assist.

Advertisement

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of West Spruce Street in reference to a suspicious person.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of West Baker Street in reference to criminal trespass to property.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of Park Street in Benld in reference to a medical call.

An officer spoke with a male at Gillespie Police Department in reference to an ordinance issue.

All subjects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Share this story

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Community News

HSHS St. Francis Hospital offers volunteer opportunities for feens

Published

on

LITCHFIELD, Ill. — HSHS St. Francis Hospital is offering service opportunities to area teens this summer through the 2024 Junior Volunteer Program. Applications are being accepted now through May 1.

Applicants must be high school students maintaining at least a “C” average, be a minimum of 14 years of age by June 1 and be willing to volunteer at least two hours per week during the summer program. Junior volunteers will perform a variety of duties in various hospital departments. 

Registration materials are available on the hospital’s website volunteer page at https://www.hshs.org/st-francis/community/volunteer.

All participants in the program will be required to present proof of immunizations for MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), and Varicella (chicken pox). An additional requirement includes attendance at a hospital orientation.

A limited number of positions will be available. For more information, contact HSHS St. Francis Hospital at 217-324-8200.

Share this story

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Trending

×

We need your support. If you value having timely, accurate news about your community, please become one of our subscribers. Subscribe