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Superintendent Skeans updates Rotary

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Structural steel will soon be seen

Paul Skeans explains that Hayward-Baker has grouted up to Line A.

The Area Rotary met in a regular meeting on Tuesday, January 31st at Toni’s Restaurant in Benld. Paul Skeans, superintendent of school district #7, updated the Rotary on the building program and what is going in the world of CUSD #7.

Skeans first introduced two people that are “instrumental” in the new school construction. Joe Tieman who currently serves as assistant superintendent and Angela Turcol, Benld Elementary Principal, came to the luncheon Tuesday afternoon with Superintendent Skeans. “I want to give them all the credit I possible can for their work,” Skeans opened.

CUSD #7 purchased 15 acres on Kelly Street in Gillespie for the site of the new school. At a price of $22,500 per acre, the district forked over $337,500 for the mined land that rests across the street from the high school baseball diamond. “We wanted to keep all the schools in one fiscal location,” Skeans explained. A study was conducted to see if there was a mine underneath the land after the purchase of the land, but the district already knew there was a mine beneath it “because all the land [CUSD #7] looked at was mined except for one.”

The district then moved on to the discovery phase and hired Marino Engineering to plan the preliminary exploration. Gerry Marino has been discovering mines “for many, many years” all over the globe. Once Marino was hired, his job was to: determine how deep the mine was, where it was, and the condition of the mine. That process took a couple of months, as expected.

The mine was discovered at 350 feet below ground, which is average according to Skeans. The mine was reported dry as video cameras documented the conditions of the mine. Cameras were dropped down the drill holes and gave a “historic view of the mine” while discovering old beams and pillars. All documented footage is archived in the high school library and anyone can view the material.

Once the mine was discovered, the engineers plotted out a scientific way to grout the mine. That process took another “period of time” and after drilling 30-40 holes, the crew found out exactly where the mine was situated. The school board then authorized site work to Ranger Excavating who built temporary roads and built the building pad. After the excavating work was complete, the footprint of the school on the site was located.

Following the ground work, the district then collected bids for the mine to be filled in. The district approved Hayward Baker’s bid of $4,408,380 to grout the mine. The international company has been on site since October and are expected to finished towards the end of February or early March. The company is a few months behind due to “very difficult problems.” “The weather and the mud has slowed them down,” Skeans explained, “Along with some equipment problems at the beginning.” Everything is up and running and the company is pouring 1,200 cubic yards of concrete per day.


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The grouting has been completed up to “Line A” which splits the building in half. The company just has the two wings to grout underneath and they are expected to finish in about one month. Since a significant part of the building has been grouted, the district moved ahead and awarded the foundation and structural steel work which is expected to start “pretty soon.”

Scattered around the banquet room were posters and drawing of the new school. One poster to the right of Skeans was a representation of what the building should look like when it is completed. A poster in the back of the room pictures a leaf drawing of the front of the school while the other poster in the back showed the mine grouting area. To the left of Skeans, a poster signified what the inside of the building would look like and how many rooms will be inside. “There will be 33 classrooms,” Skeans stated.

For the part of the building that is east of line A, you will start to see “structural steel come out of the ground.” Once the foundation has started and completed, the rest of the grouting will be completed and they will “pigtail” right in on the other two wings with the foundation and structural steel. When Korte & Luitjohan finish the structural steel east of line A, Contregra will start on the general construction which was just approved for the general construction a couple weeks ago.

“It is a piggy-back process,” Skeans noted, “We had the dirt work, then the grouting, and now structural steel and foundation. Then will come the actual building.” The district plans to be in the building during Christmas break of the 2012-2013 school year or during spring at the “latest.” “It is very possible to make up the months that we are behind right now,” Skeans explained.

Skeans remained pessimistic towards the move in date because “things happen and do not go exactly as planned.” The district may make up the time, but may not. All of the big contracts have been let at this time and it will not be long before you will start to see the building.

The building will be a “state of the art, fully self-contained” elementary school with pre-kindergarten through grade five. It will be a green building called LEED, Leading Environmental Educational Design, and will be featured in the ‘Gold’ category. Possible categories are bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. “We are rating very, very high,” Skeans explained. The publicly funded building will be environmentally built and constructed with all consideration of the sun movements and wind movements. The heating and cooling will be geothermal while the district received a $350,000 grant for clean energy.

A wind turbine will generate power and be used by the building for the utmost possible uses. The school also plans to use photovoltaic cells. “In essence, it will be a building that people from all over the state and surrounding states will visit to see the state of the art building,” Skeans explained. The building will contain LED lighting while being funded by 75% capital development funds and 25% local bonds.

The district is in the process of applying for a grant to tear down the old elementary school. After the demolition, the school hopes to use the site for soccer fields and baseball or softball fields. The softball field will be redone and still used. “We hope to see the youth participate in soccer, football, baseball, softball fields to be active,” Skeans added.

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“There will not be another collapse of a building,” Skeans closed, “At least not an elementary school, the middle school is another story since it is built over a mine.”

 

The Free Dictionary: Used to express hesitation or uncertainty.

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Court News

Macoupin County Courthouse News

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Cases filed during July 7 through July 13. Visit the “Court News” category under the “Community News” tab for other editions.

FELONIES

Timothy D. Conlee, 29 of Gillespie, is charged with aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a peace officer, driving on a suspended license, and reckless driving in connection with a July 6 incident.

Dylan J. Arview, 25 of Benld, is charged with driving under the influence while license revoked or suspending, DUI, driving on a suspended license and driving 15-20 mph above the limit in connection with a July 5 incident.

Bobby L. Walker, 35 of Sorento, is charged with driving revoked/suspended with a DUI, driving on revoked license, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, displayed registration plate, and expired registration in connection with a June 27 incident.

Dustin W. Gooch, 34 of Beecher City, is charged with aggravated fleeing/bodily injury, unlawful display of a title, improper use of registration/title, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, and registration light in connection with a June 17 incident.

MISDEMEANORS

Jordan A. Black, 24 of Gillespie, is charged with battery/causing bodily harm in connection with a July 8 incident.

Dustin R. Stieglitz, 37 of Shipman, is charged with aggravated assault/use of a deadly weapon in connection to a June 29 incident.

Steven A. Kroll, 33 of Eagarville, is charged with resisting a peace officer, fire fighter, or corrections employee in connection with a June 26 incident.

TRAFFIC

David B. Brown, 58 of Virden, is charged with cancelled/revoked/suspended registration in connection with a July 3 incident.

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Jennifer L. Roberts, 47 of Worden, is charged with driving on a suspended license and operating an uninsured motor vehicle in connection with July 5 incident.

Andrew L. Connoyer, 31 of Bethalto, is charged with improper use of registration, driving 15-20 mph above the limit, and no valid registration in connection with July 7 incident.

Megan E. Bertoldi, 37 of Gillespie, is charged with leaving the scene in connection with July 11 incident.

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE FILED

  • Tasha McQuay versus David McQuay

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School board disciplines staff member; hires AD and Student Services Coordinator

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In a relatively brief meeting Monday night, the Community Unit School District 7 Board of Education approved a “resolution of remedial warning” against an unidentified district teacher, and hired a new Student Services Coordinator and Athletic Director.

The actions followed an 80-minute executive session during which board members presumably primarily discussed personnel issues. The regular monthly meeting of the board was moved up by one week to fill key positions, such as the Athletic Director and Student Services Coordinator, prior to the start of the school year next month. The district was taken by surprise when former Student Services Coordinator Stephanie Bray and Athletic Director Mike Bertagnolli both announced their retirements within days of each other.

Supt. Shane Owsley said the resolution of remedial warning is a disciplinary action representing “a second strike, so to speak.” Neither the teacher or the nature of the infraction was disclosed in open session.

In other action, the board, voted unanimously to hire Shelsie Timmermeier as the district’s Student Services Coordinator for the 2024-25 school year, stepping into the vacancy created by Bray’s retirement, pending confirmation of certification and a background check. In a separate action, the board also appointed Timmermeier as an assistant high school women’s volleyball coach.

Jeremy Smith was hired, also by a unanimous vote, as the district’s Athletic Director for the 2024-25 school year. In a related matter, Smith’s resignation as middle school head baseball coach was accepted. Additionally, the board posted the coaching position as vacant for the coming school year.

On a motion by Weye Schmidt, seconded by Dennis Tiburzi, the board hired Alex Jasper as a high school social science teacher for the coming school year. The board also voted unanimously to hire Tate Wargo as a first-year, non-tenured physical education instructor, pending confirmation of certification. Both positions were vacated as a result of the sudden resignation of Dalton Barnes in April as head football coach, physical education teacher and social science teacher. 

In related matters, the board also hired Wargo Monday night as an eighth grade boy’s basketball coach, and accepted Jasper’s resignation as a district paraprofessional and posted the position as vacant.

In other personnel action, the board:

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  • Hired Amanda Ewin as a one-on-one aide.
  • Hired Anthony Kravanya as a freshman men’s basketball coach.
  • Appointed Melissa Heigert as a volunteer assistant high school softball coach.

In other action, the board gave routine approval to a list of policies provided by the Illinois State Board of Education. 

Supt. Owsley also provided a brief update on the progress being made on safety projects expected to be completed before the start of the school year, including installation of a new intercom system, a card-reader entry system and shatter-proof protective film on exterior windows.

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Community News

Gillespie Library, United Community Bank to host Fraud and Scam Prevention seminar on July 22

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Gillespie Public Library (Photo by Gillespie Public Library)

Friends of the Gillespie Public Library and United Community Bank are hosting a joint “Fraud and Scam Prevention” seminar at on Monday, July 22 starting at 6 p.m. at the Gillespie Public Library.

The seminar will focus on today’s common scams and frauds, which includes imposter and check scams, money mule fraud and those that target seniors. Presenters will be Jenni Alepra of Gillespie UCB and Kennen Bertolis of Carlinville UCB.

The seminar is open to the public and is free of charge. For additional questions, call the Gillespie Public Library at 217-839-3614.

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