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Verndale school board presented with timeline

With the first day of school set for Sept. 2, a visitor to the Verndale School might be tempted to ask if contractors and school staff can complete their work in time.

Hallways are filled with construction materials and equipment as remodeling work in the elementary and secondary portions goes forward. On the west side of the building which Verndale students have called their school, a brand-new 29,700 square foot addition is standing.

The summer flurry of work is part of a $5.795 million project district voters approved in May, 2013. The addition will house a gymnasium, locker rooms, science rooms, administrative offices and storage space.

Superintendent Paul Brownlow gave board members a project update at Monday night's August meeting and supplied them with a timeline for the remaining work. He said some work will still be underway when the teaching staff returns to the building Aug. 25.

The school's new boilers will be fired up this week to help in reducing the humidity in the floor. Humidity in the 88-90 percent range has delayed installation of the gym floor and the office carpeting in the addition.

"Hopefully that will get the moisture out of the floor," Brownlow said.

District 818 needs the additional room for a student population that has topped 500. Brownlow told the board the school has 514 students with the potential for another 10.

"We are nearing 525," Brownlow said.

Class sizes in grades K-12 range from 32-48.

The board approved the hiring of Katie Alba as B-team volleyball coach, Mark Callahan at part-time custodian, Char Orlando and Melissa Kern as drivers, Renae Jacobson as a part-time media assistant, Becky Dye as part-time cook and Orlando as the part-time school readiness education assistant.

Verndale will have eight high school girls competing this fall with the Staples-Motley swimming program. The board also approved a cooperative sponsorship agreement with Staples-Motley in girls' tennis.