School board makes decisions about changes

New windows were being installed on B wing as the school board met to hear construction updates.
New windows were being installed on B wing as the school board met to hear construction updates.

The Southern Humboldt Unified School District board of trustees had a special meeting to hear updates on construction at South Fork High School. Contractor for the school improvement projects, Dirk Dinsmore of Dinsmore Construction, and architect, Judy Semingson, were there along with several members of the public interested in the snack shack and plans for the gymnasium at South Fork. John Craven, the new Division of School Architect (DSA) inspector for the district was also at the meeting, but had no report to give.

President of the South Fork Boosters Club, Michelle Bushnell, had questions and requests pertaining to the new snack shack to be built on the field at South Fork. In response to the several concerns she raised, she was assured by the board and district superintendent Catherine Scott that as long as the snack shack plans were approved by the DSA soon, snack shack construction would be completed by the start of school and football season next fall. Soon after summer break begins certified school staff would be available to help the boosters move the contents of the current snack shack into secure storage at the old junior high, but the Boosters will need to do the work on the interior of the structure. Bushnell asked for better communication from the board about the timing of snack shack construction and stressed that football is the biggest fundraising season for the boosters. She reminded the board that graduation was planned for outside this year to verify that the construction site would not impede the ceremony.

Board president Thomas Mulder presented the changes to the gym plans that resulted from the recent gym subcommittee meetings with Semingson and district staff. Boys and girls locker and team rooms were made more equal in size to comply with Title 9, hallways were reconfigured in a more simple and straightforward design creating better access from the locker rooms to the field, and interior windows and outside awnings were added. The goalposts and lines will only have to be changed on the field because the shift of the field about 22 feet north and 17 feet east is minimal due to the removal of a truck ramp from the gym plans.

After the meeting, Dinsmore explained that the gym project will be in two phases and estimated that the entire project, including both phases may cost around $7 million. Scott said that the amount of work undertaken on the gym project and timing of completion will depend on whether bond Measure N passes in the June election.

The board decided to go with HardiePlank, a cement fiber siding, below the windows on the wings at South Fork where years of putting in piping caused too many holes to be patched effectively. Semingson had checked the cost of patching the holes with stucco, but Dinsmore's estimate of replacement with HardiePlank was almost $3,000 less, at $15,507, and deemed to be aesthetically and structurally more sound.

The board also decided to put HardiePlank on all exterior areas where there was old wood siding, including gable ends, sides of the B wing bathroom building, and above the windows for a cost of $38,918, which includes credit from not having to do prep work on the wood. Dinsmore pointed out they were still off a net of $30,000 from the original contract.