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Local

A cool addition: District on track to install air conditioning unit in high school gym

The Newton High School Pacesetters perform a routine inside the gymnasium. The NCSD Board of Education voted to schedule a public hearing date for a mechanical equipment project at 6:45 p.m. Sept. 23 inside the E.J.H. Beard Administration Center. The project would effectively install air conditioning units in the upper gym of the high school.
The Newton High School Pacesetters perform a routine inside the gymnasium. The NCSD Board of Education voted to schedule a public hearing date for a mechanical equipment project at 6:45 p.m. Sept. 23 inside the E.J.H. Beard Administration Center. The project would effectively install air conditioning units in the upper gym of the high school.

Members of the Newton Community School District Board of Education agreed to set a public hearing date for a mechanical equipment project in the high school, which would effectively provide air conditioning inside the upper gymnasium and the surrounding areas.

The school board will hold a public hearing at 6:45 p.m. Sept. 23 at the E.J.H. Beard Administration Center, 1302 First Ave. W., during its regularly scheduled meeting.

Currently, there is very little air flow in the high school gym, Superintendent Bob Callaghan said, noting the warm conditions of heavily attended events like senior class graduation made the lack of air conditioning units more noticeable.

Some board members humorously acknowledged the uncomfortably hot surroundings and had apparently received concerning comments from constituents and visiting school districts about how “terribly hot” the facilities were at the high and middle school.

Upon installing air conditioning units in the new gym at Berg Middle School and reconditioning its neighboring south gym, Callaghan said one thing the district knew it needed in its 10-year plan was to include air conditioning in the high school gym, as well.

After speaking with NCSD Maintenance Supervisor Jack Suttek, Callaghan expects the high school gym will need about two, 40-ton units. Originally, the district was told to cool the space for 800 people, but Callaghan argued the facility needs to be cooled for a minimum of 1,200.

“You don’t want to overcool,” Callaghan said. “There are very few times where there are 1,200 people in the gym, but sometimes there’s going to be 1,500 to 1,800 people — like at graduation — so you want a unit that’s robust enough to cool it for those little overloads without overdoing it.”

Tim Bloom, director of business services, confirmed the project would be paid for using Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) funds. Board member Donna Cook checked with Callaghan to make sure the project plans were already drawn out, which they were.

In other action Monday, the school board:

• Acknowledged the Newton Community School District’s acceptance of the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada. The school district received the award for “its comprehensive annual financial report,” according to a press release. This certificate is the highest form of recognition for governmental accounting and financial reporting. Attaining the award “represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.”

• Received updates from is supervisors overseeing food service, transportation and technology. Superintendent Bob Callaghan said the maintenance supervisor’s report will be heard at the next board meeting.

• Reviewed data collected by the Liebl Marketing Group regarding the Newton Community School District’s “The Bridge” initiative and social media interactions. The Bridge is a webpage designed to keep an open communication between the district and public. According to Liebl Marketing Group’s data, The Bridge garnered 1,847 page views in August. On average, each person spent about two minutes and 11 seconds on the page. The Bridge was also the eighth most visited page on the website in August.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

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