Neosho R-5 school board members approved the $148,667 purchase of furniture and shelving for the high school library at the board of education meeting Monday evening.

Neosho R-5 school board members approved the $148,667 purchase of furniture and shelving for the high school library at the board of education meeting Monday evening.

The library, currently gutted down to four walls, is getting a complete remodel this summer, to provide students with a more open, modern library when they return in the fall.

Board members approved the furniture purchase Monday by a 6-0 vote, with board member Mike Stauffer absent.
The $148,667 furniture charges are in addition to $598,500 the district is paying to Branco Enterprises for construction costs in the remodel.

Some board members expressed surprise at the additional furniture charges Monday evening, saying they had thought the $598,500 included all costs associated with the remodel.  

“When we’re deciding on projects, we need to know total costs,” said board president Brett Day. “It wouldn’t have changed my vote because I believe in this renovation; I believe this is important to what this board wants to do. We’ve got a generation that is being flooded with information. We’ve got to teach them how to sort out the good from the bad and the library is going to be a key asset in that battle.”

Michael Lyss and Suzanne Hayes, architects at Kromm, Rikimaru and Johansen, presented library designs to the board.
The library designs include a fireplace, a lounge area with couches and a coffee table, bistro tables and chairs with tabletop lamps, study rooms, different levels of ceiling with accents, lighting, curved ceilings and tiered ceilings, as well as a full glass window near the library entrance.

The window area opens the library up into the corridor, which the architects say should be inviting for students walking by.
“It’ll hopefully draw them in because they’ll see activity, they’ll see friends sitting there or they’ll see the fireplace,” Lyss said.

Hayes presented the color pattern to the board, which includes primarily neutral tones.

She said the goal in choosing the color scheme was to stick with the same color combinations used in previous Neosho High School additions, such as in the cafeteria, commons area, and science labs.

However, some board members were concerned that the neutral tones may not be bold enough for the district’s teenagers.

“I would just like to see something and this is not necessarily this project but sometime in the future, something that’s more inviting,” said board member Steve Douglas. “I looked at those colors up here last week in the office and the only way I can describe it is just ‘blah.’ It’s like that’s how the whole high school is to me, ‘just blah.’”

Board member Caroline Perigo suggested the board look at other options to add color to the school.

“Maybe we need to pursue the idea of brightening up our school in the hallways and the other places,” Perigo said.

The architects, as well as district buildings and grounds director Shawn Dilday, suggested the board members incorporate bright colors in the furniture area.

The furniture is being purchased via the TIPS/TAPS Cooperative Purchasing System, which allows the district to make purchases at discounted prices.

Board members also voted to purchase a $56,500 softball field lighting package from MUSCO lighting via TIPS/TAPS Cooperative Purchasing System.

The lighting will be used at the new softball field being constructed at Carver Elementary School, which the district and contractors broke ground on last Thursday.

Last month, the district approved a $1,012,600 bid from Construction Services Group of Neosho for construction of the field.

The softball field is phase one of a proposed three-part sports complex, though the board has only currently approved the softball field.

Dilday said the lighting would be capable of expanding to the additional phases, which could include a soccer field and baseball field.

In other business:

• Board members voted to adopt the Educator Professional Growth System, a new teacher evaluation policy, based on the Missouri Model Teacher Standards and Indicators. The district participated in the system’s pilot program during the 2011-2012 school year;

• Approved raises for district administrators, which according to the board members’ packet totals $680, as well as a $600 step added to the salary schedule for those who have earned one. Last month, the district approved a similar raise for teachers and staff;

• Board members voted to authorize district administration to begin the facility planning process to look at addressing overcrowding in the district.