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New Track Is Approved

 

            After a year of exploring the possibility of constructing a rubberized 8 lane track, Deshler Public Schools Board of Education approved a motion on January 11, 2016 to request construction bids for the purpose of constructing a track.  The Board accepted a bid on February 8, 2016 offered by Van Kirk Brothers, in Sutton, Nebraska as the general contractor.  Estimated cost is $855,847.  Deshler Public Schools contracted engineering services with Steve Wolford of W Designs Associates in McCook and Hastings.  Expenses will be defrayed from Deshler Public Schools’ Sinking Fund.  

            “Financially, Deshler Public is great shape,” said Brian Isernhagen, Board President.  He continued by saying, “The District is pleased to have the funds to cover the constructions costs.”

            Dr. Al Meier, Superintendent of Schools, offered a review of the two taxing funds and how they can be used within the district.  Deshler Public Schools uses two “taxing” funds: General Fund and Sinking Fund.  Each fund serves different purposes in the operation the School.  The General Fund finances all facets of services rendered by Deshler Public Schools.  General Fund expenditures are limited by statute; the tax levy for the General Fund is restricted.    The Sinking Fund finances property or building purchases, improvements to sites and/or to erect, or alter or improve facilities.   Payment of General Fund expenditures from the Sinking Fund is prohibited.  The tax levy for the Sinking Fund is limited to no more than $0.14.   The tax levy for the General Fund and Sinking Fund, together, cannot exceed $1.05.  Deshler Public Schools’ tax levy for 2015 is just over $0.63 (General Fund is $0.577 and Sinking Fund is $0.053).

           Nine years ago the Sinking Fund ending balance was roughly $45,000.  Since then, the Board has increased the balance of the Sinking Fund each year.  Tax askings have ranged from $50,000 to $300,000 per year. This year’s ending balance is estimated to be $1.1 million dollars-excluding construction costs; more than enough funds to construct a track without placing a burden on taxpayers.   The Board plans to continue this practice of acquiring funds for future projects.

           Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin March 23, 2016, beginning with the removal of trees on the south side of the facility.  Construction is scheduled to begin on or before April 6, with a completion date scheduled for no later than September 1, 2016.  The goal is to have the track completed prior to the first home football game, which is scheduled for Friday, September 16, 2016.  

            President of the Board, Brian Isernhagen  stated, “The  board is hopeful the project will be completed well before the September 1 deadline.”  Deshler Public Schools gave Van Kirk Brothers permission to start construction as soon as possible.  “Most track projects begin mid to late May, which can push completions dates well into the fall.  Deshler is at an advantage by allowing Van Kirks to start before May to ensure an early completion date,” stated Steve Wolford, of W Designs Associates.    

           Deshler high school and junior high track teams are using the track on limited bases this spring for practices.  Last year’s flood rendered the track unusable, especially the south side of the track, even though efforts were made to level the surface.    

Discussions to update the football and track facilities began in 2014.  The Board hired Steve Wolford of W Designs Associates in January 2015 to develop plans for the construction of a track.  Wolford discussed his plans with the board in July of 2015.  Shortly after the July meeting, the Board hired Wolford to help Deshler Public with a bidding process contingent on the Board's approval of Wolford’s plan.  In January 2016, final plans were approved by the Board.

           Plans include the construction of an eight lane 400 meter track with 9 lanes on the west straight away nearest the press box and bleachers, installation of an underground sprinkler system for the football field and outside the track, chain link fence, and a sidewalk leading to the bleachers.  Future renovations include the purchase and installation of new bleachers and lights.    

            “We are looking forward to the construction process and to the completion of a significant upgrade for the school and community through the construction of the new track,” concluded Dr. Meier. 

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