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Board delays action on facilities plan

The Superior School Board is taking more time to consider its course of action after a study of the Superior school district buildings revealed a number of deficiencies.

In April, engineering and architectural firm LHB presented preliminary findings of its recent facilities assessment. The firm recommended nearly $69 million in renovations, including a new building at Cooper Elementary School and significant improvements to Superior High School.

The Superior Board of Education was scheduled to discuss the matter at tonight’s meeting, but after a lengthy closed-door meeting on May 7 the Board voted to delay that discussion.

“In my opinion, I’m pleased that the Board is really analyzing this,” said Janna Stevens, Superior school district superintendent. “We have to consider what is the exact need, when is that something we have to do ... along with what is the financial piece for the citizens.”

Stevens said the Board’s May 7 meeting lasted nearly three and a half hours.

The Board has scheduled another closed session meeting for later this month, but there is no timeline to take action on the facilities assessment.

“I think they’re really doing a thorough review,” Stevens said. “Perhaps we’ll have something that will be more of an (action) item in June, but I don’t know that yet at all, to be honest with you.”

Stevens doubted the matter would appear on the Board agenda before July.

She also stressed that, at this point, the School Board is only reviewing the facilities assessment as part of the district’s strategic planning process.

“If we ever go to a referendum — and that really is ‘if’ with exclamation points — if we did that, the statute is that 70 days before the actual vote, the Board has to pass a resolution that they’re formally going to referendum,” Stevens said. “Really, that could be years out.”

Work on the National Bank of Commerce Spartan Sports Complex, meanwhile, finally began last week.

The new facility is expected to open in the fall. So far, only preliminary work has been scheduled, such as exploratory excavations and the assembly of a construction fence.

The district received $15,754.51 in new donations for the complex since its last report in April. The Green Bay Packers topped the list with a surprise gift of $4,000 at the April 17 Tailgate Tour. Final proceeds from the event, which were not included in the donations tally, totaled about $22,950, Stevens said.

The list of donations for May also included contributions from students. The Superior High School class of 2014 pledged $500 for the complex, and one future Spartan, Jordyn Love, chipped in $4.51.

New members

Newly-elected Board members Sheila Keup and Steven Stupak served at their first official meeting May 5.

Both are former employees of the Superior school district, and believe that experience will help them make informed decisions.

“I have a very good understanding of the way the district runs,” Keup said. “I’m familiar with all of the buildings and many of the staff.

“I want to represent the children, the community and the employees.”

Keup worked as a bus driver for several years, and Stupak was a chief engineer with more than 30 years in the district. Stupak serves as director of building and grounds for the Wrenshall (Minn.) school district, and Keup works with the Humane Society of Douglas County.

Stupak said he is very interested in the recent facilities assessment, and he hopes his experience in building management will be useful to the Board.

“I think it will come into play right now with the (possible) building of new buildings because I have a lot of background,” Stupak said. “I’ve worked both sides of the table, so it makes it really interesting.

“I want to do the best we can for the taxpayers and for the students, of course.”