DANVILLE — A large portion of the Dr. David L. Fields Administrative Service Center at 110 E. Williams St., which Danville District 118 uses as its main administration building, will soon be under construction.
The school board Wednesday night approved hiring McDowell Builders of Sidell to renovate the south half of the building for $615,957.
The renovations include creating a board room where the school board would meet in addition to creating handicapped accessible restrooms and a separate conference room to be used by the human resources department and relocating the front entrance to what is now considered the back of the building.
Approximately 6,250 square feet of the building, which totals 12,000 square feet, will be renovated, bringing the cost of the work to less than $100 a square foot, which Buildings and Grounds Director Skip Truex said was a good price for a commercial building remodel.
Truex said he hopes the renovation work will be completed by the first of November.
The district’s administrative offices for the superintendent, assistant superintendents, human resources, business and curriculum were relocated in December 2016 to the Fields administrative service center, which is across Williams Street to the south of the Jackson Building. The Jackson Building had been the district’s administration building since 1964 after it ceased being used as a school in 1963.
The district entered into an agreement in August 2016 to lease the former MT Systems building for $24,500 for one year with the option to purchase it. The first remodeling work took place at the building in the fall of 2016 at a cost of $109,209.
District officials say the Fields administrative service center provides a professional environment for administrative employees that is all on one level and handicapped accessible.
District employees involved with special education, educational support and the Danville Public School Foundation still remain at the Jackson Building.
Also on Wednesday, the board:
-- Awarded Rose Gates a check for $2,077 to continue her Food for the Children backpack program during the district’s summer school program. The money was raised from staff and faculty who paid for the privilege of wearing jeans one day to school.
“Thank you for what you do so none of our kids go without a meal on the weekends,” Superintendent Alicia Geddis said.
Gates said the money would be used strictly for food and not for the purchase of bags, which Menards has been donating.
-- Heard a presentation from Danville High School’s Future Problem Solvers on their Project Ignition project, “Drive Safe to Arrive Safe.” The students were named 2018 Illinois State Champions for their project in the community problem solving category and will take their project next to the International Future Problem Solvers competition June 6-10 in LaCrosse, Wis.
-- Conducted a public hearing to discuss a waiver of federal holidays — including Columbus Day, Veterans’ Day, Martin Luther King Day, Lincoln’s Birthday and Casmir Pulaski Day — that will be filed with the Vermilion County Regional Office of Education so that the district will have the flexibility to schedule a student attendance day or a teacher institute day on a federal holiday.
“It’s not our intention to use all those days,” Geddis said. “It’s our intent to use Columbus Day for fall break.”
-- Discussed the implementation of criminal background checks for volunteers within the school district, starting with the new school year.
Human Resources Director Dianna Kirk said the district always has done a background screening of the volunteers who are around the students, but the law now requires a criminal background check, which is more stringent.
“Regardless of whether they are employees or volunteers, all are checked against three data bases,” Kirk said. “When we hire someone, we have them fingerprinted, and we get a report from the FBI and a report from the Illinois State Police.”
Kirk proposed to the board that it considers checking volunteers who work closely with students to be additionally checked for “county criminal activity and national criminal activity.”
Board member Dr. Randal Ashton clarified that “someone bringing a tray of cookies” to a school wouldn’t need to submit to a background check.
-- Renewed a contract for Health Services Consultants, Inc. of Champaign for the 2018-2019 school year to provide occupational therapy services at a rate of $83 an hour; certified occupational therapy assistant services, two at a rate of $55 an hour; speech and language pathology services, two at a rate of $75 an hour; and physical therapy services at a rate of $90 an hour.
-- Approved 4-1 the district’s wellness policy for students and staff. The policy promotes healthy lifestyles and both physical and mental wellness by ensuring all curricular objectives for physical education and health are met, USDA guidelines are being met and that students have access to physical activity and a healthy learning environment. The policy changes include the addition of supports for student mental health, the addition of breakfast after the bell, an updated community resources list and more information about the district’s wellness initiative for staff. Other policy items include offering health curriculum during one quarter at Kenneth D. Bailey Academy, continuing monthly birthday celebrations with healthy food and non-food options for birthdays and rewards and encouraging the creation of building level wellness committees.
-- Approved continuing to use Commercial Travelers Mutual Insurance to provide additional student insurance for the 2018-2019 school year.
-- Reviewed a first reading of the 2018-2019 Ownership in Education handbook.
-- Heard the scores from the food service department’s spring sanitation inspection reports conducted by the Vermilion County Health Department. The district’s overall average is 99.45 percent. All of the schools scored 100 percent, except for South View Upper Elementary School, which scored a 98 for debris accumulated in the sides and bottom of a microwave oven, and Danville High School, which scored a 96 for a dishwasher’s final temperature not reaching satisfactory rinsing temperature.
Food Service Director Sue Barnes told the board that the microwave is now cleaned daily and the dishwasher repair was made and the violation was cleared.
-- Approved 4-1 paying the $9,954 annual membership dues for the Illinois Association of School Boards for the 2018-2019 school year.