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Parenteau retires after 40 years with school district

For decades, Joan Parenteau has kept Superior School Board meetings flowing smoothly as the administrative assistant to the superintendent.

Monday marked the end of an era; however, as Parenteau attended her final meeting. She is set to retire at the end of the month after 40 years of working for the Superior school district.

"I don't think you understand just how much I admire you," said Christina Kintop, vice president of the School Board. "I want to thank you for all that you have done. You've kept the school together. You really are the nuts and bolts of this district."

Kintop was one of several Board members to bid farewell to Parenteau near the close of Monday's meeting. She said the school district won't be the same without Parenteau's steady hand behind the scenes.

Len Albrecht, president of the School Board, noted Parenteau's dependability and her sense of fun.

He has served on the Board since 2000, but Parenteau's experience dwarfs his tenure. She has occupied a seat at the Board table for more years than the other six School Board members combined.

"Thank you very much for all the time you've put in," Albrecht said. "I've known you now for 17 years. We've gotten to know each other quite well, and even though you're a Vikings fan, I still don't hold that against you.

"It's been a pleasure, and good luck."

Parenteau began working for the Superior school district in 1977 and this year was inducted into the Superior Academic Hall of Fame as a Lifetime Achievement honoree. She has served as administrative assistant for five superintendents.

Current superintendent Janna Stevens has worked with Parenteau since taking over in 2009.

Stevens said Parenteau is a dream employee who has served the school district with dedication and loyalty for 40 years.

"Even after all these years, she is still excited to see the photos of staff and students working on projects," Stevens said. "Joan knows what we are doing is making a difference in the lives of children, and it brings a smile to her face. I know she is proud to be a part of making a difference in this community.

"I am honored to have had the privilege of working with Joan and to call her my friend."

Parenteau's retirement is effective July 1. She has been working alongside Kelly Pugh, the new administrative assistant to the superintendent, since May 22.

Construction bids

On June 6, the Superior School Board approved the final base bid for construction projects at Cooper Elementary School and Superior High School.

The bid, for steel fabrication work at the high school, went to True North Steel. The Fargo-based company had the low bid of $2,026,377.

The only other company to bid was Northshore Steel, based in Two Harbors, which came in at $2,028,900.

A representative for construction manager Kraus-Anderson at the June 6 meeting said it is unusual to receive only two bids for steel fabrication work.

Kraus-Anderson's bid summary for the work shows nine companies opted not to bid because they were too busy or could not handle the scope of the project. Five others chose not to bid without explanation.

The lack of interest pushed up costs for the Superior school district. For planning purposes, Kraus-Anderson had used an estimate of $1.1 million for the steel fabrication work, but the winning bid came in more than $900,000 higher.

Stevens said the high school project remains on budget, but several work scope decisions are pending, including whether the school district can afford to build a two-station or three-station gymnasium.

Those decisions will be made after discussions with Kraus-Anderson, Stevens said.

Total expenses for the high school construction project as of June 6 were $52.6 million. The total estimated cost for the project is about $57 million.

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