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At its regular meeting last Thursday, the North Crawford School Board approved a health insurance plan with a modest 2.4 percent increase that was recommended by the personnel committee and had a favorable review from district employees.

The new policy will allow employees to choose from two main networks as providers—the Coulee Network, offering personnel and clinics associated with Gundersen Lutheran and  Vernon Memorial Healthcare, and the Western Preferred Network, offering services through Franciscan Skemp and the Mayo Clinic. Additionally, the district will allow employees to choose the statewide network with more providers, but it will cost the employees a bit more.

If employees choose the Coulee Network or the Western Preferred Network, they will have their current premium payment increase by 1.2 percent and the district will cover the other 1.2 percent of the 2.4 percent premium increase. However, if employees choose to go with  the statewide network plan, the district will cover only 1.2 percent of the 6.2 percent increase to the current premium and those employees will have to shoulder a five percent increase to their current premium payment.

Nevertheless, North Crawford District Administrator Dan Davies noted that some employees thanked the district for allowing the statewide option because the doctors they use are not covered by the other networks.

Later during a discussion of the school’s concession stand, it was explained that small building had it’s foundation washed out in recent heavy rains. Davies told the board that the district’s head of maintenance, Harry Heisz, favored lifting the stand out of its location near the football bleachers filling in the area that had washed out and installing a new cement pad for the stand to be reinstalled upon. Heisz had estimated the cost of the work at $3,000.

Board member Aaron Fortney suggested the district look into making a portable concession stand that could be moved to the baseball and softball fields in spring.

 There was a brief discussion of how the stand might be built and Davies agreed to look into the possibilities of constructing a mobile concession stand.

A construction project of a much greater magnitude was discussed next. Davies told the board that  a meeting with architects involved with designing a space for the district’s fitness equipment purchased with funds from the PEP grant was in order. The situation is complicated by a rule that would call for substantial upgrades throughout the building if existing space inside the school was remodeled and upgraded for use as a fitness center. Such a remodeling would be substantial because it would have to accommodate the large amount to fitness equipment.

A primary stumbling block to remodeling interior space in the school is a state building codes requiring the school to undergo a massive upgrade to the entire school, if a major remodeling were to occur. Such a remodeling would necessitate the school bring everything up to current code for the building and that would mean retrofitting the building with a sprinkler system for fire suppression among other potential costly changes to electrical and plumbing systems to bring them up to current code.

The district administrator explained that as costly as building a freestanding structure to house the fitness equipment might be, it night turn out to be the same or less as the costs associated with trying to remodel inside the building and then absorbing the associated cost of meeting new building codes.

The board instructed Davies to work on setting up a meeting with architects to discuss alternatives on creating 8,500-square-feet of space for the fitness wellness program and its equipment. The cost of a freestanding space would be $1 million to $1.5 million, according to Davies.

In other business, the North Crawford School Board:

• agreed on Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 10 a.m. as next year’s graduation date

• set the annual meeting for Monday , Sept. 23

• decided to keep the school fees the same as last year’s fees

• approved Mike Allbaugh as the new varsity girls basketball coach, following a closed session discussion

• approved Jeremy Fradette as the new junior varsity boys basketball coach after closed session discussion of the matter