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The Hoopeston Area Board of Education set a demolition date of Aug. 1, 2020 for Honeywell Grade School at Thursday’s meeting.

The Hoopeston Area Board of Education was somewhat divided on how to proceed with the plans to demolish Honeywell Grade School at last week’s board meeting.

Board Member Lisa Leigh, speaking on behalf of the Finance/Facility/Transportation/Safety committee, recommended the board form a sub-committee to investigate how best to approach the eventual demolition of Honeywell.

Leigh said the advisory committee would be focused on determining the best disposition of the items within Honeywell.

The advisory committee will include members of the public and will advise the full committee on their recommendations.

Leigh said the school contains many historical artifacts and the committee would like some input from the community about what to do with them.

She said advisory committee will move very quickly in assessing the situation and advising the board.

Leigh said the board may need to meet multiple times a month or a week.

She said the committee hasn’t been formed yet and that District Business Manager Mark Eighner would be leading the efforts to form the team.

Eighner said the need for the advisory committee stems from the fact that the district hasn’t gained much traction in terms of moving forward with the demolition of Honeywell since the board approved the move earlier this year.

Along with offering opinions on what to do with what’s in the school, Eighner said he’d also like advisory committee’s input on what the district should do with the property once the building is torn down.

He pointed to the playground equipment that’s on the property and the property itself and told the board there hasn’t been any firm discussions on what will happen to it once Honeywell is gone.

“It just seems like we’re kind of spinning,” he said.

Eighner said he planned to put out a call to any community members who might be interested in being a part of the advisory committee. He said they might also host an open forum in the high school library to gather any public input on the matter and, hopefully, find some volunteers for the advisory committee.

“We’re just trying to get some guidance from the community,” he said.

Board Member Craig Lee asked how they will determine when they’ve received enough guidance on the matter and start making moves towards bringing the building down.

Lee raised the concern that adding another committee won’t help move them towards the ultimate goal.

“I’m concerned another committing is just going to keep us spinning,” he said.

Board Member Lawrence Jahn, who serves on the Finance/Facility/Transportation/Safety committee, said the committee wants to take action, but has many other matters that need to be addressed and having this advisory board will alleviate some of the workload.

“We’ve got a lot on our plate and we need some help,” he said.

Board Member Rich Eisenmann said there are many different ideas for how to approach the situation in the community; some want to just take the building and down and bury it while others want to preserve every aspect of it and put their name on it.

Eisenmann said this advisory committee should try to look at these ideas and find a middle ground that the board can tread to address the situation with the public’s input.

“This way we’ll have people on there to throw some ideas around and everybody’s going to have a say,” he said.

Lee said he understands the idea behind the advisory committee, but still feels there needs to be plan in place to determine when the board will take the committee’s advice and start moving forward.

Board President Dave McFadden suggested a timeline be established with dates set in place to decide what steps of the process need to be reached by specific points in the calendar.

Eighner said that’s exactly how it should happen and the advisory committee would help them achieve that goal.

“We’re just trying to find the best approach to appease community members, taxpayers, school board members, faculty,” he said. “We want to dot all our i’s and cross all out t’s.”

One of the areas that the committee will be seeking guidance on is how to harvest the wood that is inside the building.

Eighner said they had a person offer to harvest the wood for $1,200, but Eighner feels that the district needs to look to their own staff and students to possibly do the work before offering it to an outside contractor.

Eighner spoke with Industrial Technology Teacher Shawn Swartzentruber earlier in the evening about the idea and Swartzentruber planned to look into and see if the project would work for his students.

High School Principal John Klaber said having students work on the project during school time probably wouldn’t be feasible since traveling to and from Honeywell during the day would eat up most of the allotted time for the project.

Eighner said they could look into having the class work on the project on Saturdays.

Board Member Lee Cox suggested the board simply hire the contract who made the offer to harvest the wood and Swartzentruber and his students do what they can and move forward with the demolition process as soon as possible.

“Set a date,” he said. “Nothing gets things kicked in the rear more than when you have a deadline to meet.”

McFadden recommended a compromise.

He suggested the board set a date for when they want Honeywell to be demolished and then turn the matter over to the advisory board to investigate between now and the deadline.

Cox and Leigh agreed that would be a good way to approach it.

Lee said he would like to see something done with the building by the end of the year, personally, but Buildings and Grounds Supervisor Wade Clemmons said the process will probably take close to a year.

He said the asbestos abatement alone will likely take two to three months to complete.

McFadden asked Clemmons to give the board an estimate of when he thought the building could be taken down.

“I’d say Aug. 1 of next year would be about as soon as it could happen,” Clemmons said.

McFadden recommended the board set Aug. 1, 2020 as the planned date to bring the building down and have the advisory committee work to address the issues they currently face in that span of time.

The board agreed with the the plan.

In other business:

- Board Member Debbie Klaber reported the Curricular/Extra-Curricular committee had met and discussed creating guidelines for parent and visitor conduct at extra-curricular events.

McFadden said he raised the idea with the hopes of keeping fan behavior such as disrespectful comments towards officials under control.

“I asked our superintendent and principals if they felt there was an appetite for such a code of conduct and there is,” he said.

McFadden said he will leave developing a code of conduct that is enforceable in the hands of Superintendent Robert Richardson and the building principals.

Richardson said he examined the board’s current policy and there is language that does cover this issue, but he and district administrators feel that something more specific is called for to address this type of behavior.

Richardson hopes to have a new policy developed in time for the winter sports season.

- Each of the building’s principals applauded the work of the buildings and grounds department on preparing each of their buildings for the coming school year.

- The board approved a $10,416 payment to MTSS Network for professional development.

- The board approved the purchase of a 25-passenger bus from Central States Bus Sales for $37,050.

- The board approved an amount not to exceed $7,000 to hire Russell Leigh & Associates to perform the district’s annual audit.

- Richardson announced the district will present a public engagement forum Sept. 16 at the Lorraine Theatre. He said more information on this forum will be coming soon.

- The board set a public hearing to discuss the tentative budget for 6 p.m. Sept. 19 in the high school library.

The board approved the following personnel matters:

- Action to accept the employment of Nathan Burkowski as District Athletic Director for the 2019-20 school year with an effective date of August 1, 2019.

- Action to accept the employment of Patricia Martin pending an approved background check as part-time Special Education Paraprofessional at Maple Elementary for the 2019-20 school year with an effective date of August 16,2019.

- Action to accept the employment of Taylor Ankenbrand pending an approved background check as Classroom Paraprofessional at John Greer Elementary for the 2019-20 school year with an effective date of August 15,2019.

- Action to accept the employment of Phillip Foley pending an approved background check as 7th Grade Science Teacher at Hoopeston Area Middle School for the 2019-20 school year with an effective date of August 15,2019.

- Action to accept the employment of Michael Kietzman pending an approved background check as custodian at Hoopeston Area High School effective August 19,2019.

- Action to accept the employment of Mattie Drayer pending an approved background check as Personal Aide at Hoopeston Area High School for the 2019-20 school year with an effective date of August 15,2019.

- Action to accept the employment of Michael Soderstrom pending an approved background check as 6th Grade Science Teacher at Hoopeston Area Middle School and World Geography and World History Teacher at Hoopeston Area High School for the 2019-20 school year with an effective date of August 15,2019.

- Action to accept the employment of Desiree Watson pending an approved background check as Personal Aide at Hoopeston Area High School for the 2019-20 school year with an effective date of August 15,2019.

- Action to accept the employment of Tanya Eilts pending an approved background check as Personal Aide at Hoopeston Area High School for the 2019-20 school year with an effective date of August 15,2019.

- Action to accept the employment of Ron Cade as Volunteer Assistant Coach for Hoopeston High School Girls Basketball effective August 15, 2019.

Action to accept the employment of Brooke Walsh as 6th Grade Girls Basketball Coach for the 2019-20 school year with an effective date of August 15,2019.

- Action to accept the employment of Bobby Gossett as 7th Grade Girls Basketball Coach for the 2019-20 school year with an effective date of August 15, 2019.

- Action to accept the transfer ofLes Symmonds from 7th Grade Girls Basketball Coach to 8th Grade Girls Basketball Coach for the 2019-20 school year with an effective date of August 15,2019

- Action to accept the resignation of Megan Collins as 6th Grade Science Teacher at Hoopeston Area Middle School with an effective date of July 23, 2019.

- Action to accept the resignation of Matthew Byrnes as District Custodian with an effective date August 16,2019.

- Action to accept the resignation of Shawn Byrnes as District Custodian with an effective date of August 16,2019.

- Action to accept the resignation of Bethany Goulding as Personal Aide at Hoopeston Area High School with an effective date of June 28,2019.

- Action to accept the resignation of Jessica Lange as Classroom Paraprofessional at John Greer Elementary School with an effective date of July 30, 2019.

- Action to accept the resignation of Ross Bryll as 6th grade Girls Basketball Coach at Hoopeston Area Middle School with an effective date of February 25, 2019.

- Action to accept the resignation of Bobby Gossett as 5th Grade Boys Basketball Coach at John Greer Elementary with an effective date of August 11, 2019.

- Action to accept the resignation of Tammy Ravens as Part-Time Cafeteria Worker effective August 12,2019.