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Memorial trees to be replaced

SPRING VALLEY — The Hall High School Board adopted the Fiscal Year 2013 tax levy at Wednesday night’s meeting. Though several funds will be seeing a reduction in tax money, the overall levy will be increasing by $1.04 for a total of $3.99. Superintendent Struna indicated he worked hard at making the increase as small as possible.

Damian Eallonardo from Leopardo Construction was in attendance to provide an update to the board on the school construction project. Work began in early November on the installation of construction fencing, erosion control measures and project team construction offices. Mass excavation is currently underway including the relocation of the existing sanitary sewer system, site clearing, topsoil stripping and building pad construction. This portion of the project is expected to continue through late January. “Everything is going well and according to the plan,” Eallonardo said.

Bid package 2, for concrete foundations, precast wall panels and structural steel is available now with bids due on Jan. 9. This package comprises 22 percent of the overall project value. Bid package 3 is currently in final design with bidding anticipated in early 2014.

Twenty-three memorial trees were removed along the existing western access road. The trees were originally planted to honor 23 Hall veterans who died in World War II. Questions have been raised about the necessity of the removal. According to Leopardo Construction the removal of the trees was absolutely necessary due to the re-grading of the green space north of the school. This re-grading is necessary to maintain positive drainage for the fields north and west of the school. Re-grading will raise the ground elevation along the road, burying the bottom of the trees and ultimately killing the trees. The second factor is the scheduled reconstruction of the west access road. It is anticipated that after the asphalt road surface is removed and the necessary excavation is accomplished to establish a new base for the reconditioned road, the root system for the trees will be damaged or destroyed, again resulting in the death of the trees.

A new memorial garden is being planned. The logs from the trees were saved so that benches can be made from them or the logs could be used in the garden. Twenty-three new trees will be planted.

The board approved the 2014-2015 school calendar with some major changes due to the construction project. School will be starting on Aug. 11, 2014, with a teacher’s institute which is significantly earlier than normal. This was done so the school can be finished as early as possible in May 2015. Demolition of the old school will begin at that time. If there are no snow days, school will end on May 8, 2015, with institute days on May 11 and 12.

In other business:

• Employee Health Care Insurance was approved with an 11-percent increase.

• The board adopted Vision 2015 curriculum changes. All new classes will prepare students for college or career readiness. New classes include Honors English I, Accounting I, Sales and Marketing, Honors U.S. History and Vocational Technology.

• The board heard a presentation by Mark Schneider of Prairie State Insurance.

• The board authorized Superintendent Mike Struna to approve change orders with a cost of less that $50,000.

• The board adopted a resolution to abate a portion of the tax levied for the 2013 year to pay debt service on General Obligation School Bonds, Series 2013A at the amount of $200,000. The school borrowed money in 2007 and are able to pay the bonds off early.

The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. Jan. 15 in the library.

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