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News items come from the U.S. Department of Educations's National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF).

Renovation at Pella High School Continues With Students Away for Break
-- Andrew Schneider,

Iowa: June 26, 2017 -- Construction at Pella High School is at full steam ahead as students are out for summer break. Superintendent Greg Ebeling says despite overall progress remaining on target for an end-of-August completion, two areas of concern remain in the building.

Springfield launches 'summer blitz' of $17.2 million in school building improvements, repairs
-- Peter Goonan, Mass

Massachusetts: June 24, 2017 -- Springfield is using state funds from the Massachusetts School Building Authority as well as city money to tackle a slate of school improvements and repairs this year, primarily during the summer months. MSBA projects totaling $13.7 million primarily involve major work such as new roofs, windows and doors. The projects are 80 percent state funded and 20 percent city funded.

Big summer makeover at Northwest Elementary
-- Jeff Dankert, New Tribune

Illinois: June 24, 2017 -- If you drive by Northwest Elementary School in La Salle, it’s clear that something significant is going on there. This week, a pallet of concrete sat near the south entrance. On the east side, a small skid loader was parked in the principal’s spot. A major makeover is underway this summer inside the 60-year-old grade school at Malcolm and O’Conor avenues. Completion is slated for August before kids return from summer break. Vissering Construction of Streator was awarded the main contract for $832,750. Asbestos-containing pipe insulation and floor tile was removed earlier this summer.

Logan requests end of school construction management contract
-- Ryan Quinn, Charleston Gazette-Mail

West Virginia: June 24, 2017 -- Logan County’s school board voted last week to ask the state School Building Authority’s board and executive director for cancellation of the contract between Logan’s public school system and the construction management company the SBA had assigned to Logan through a relatively new setup. Board President Paul Hardesty also said he couldn’t find evidence that the contract with PCS, for work regarding a planned new elementary school in Chapmanville, was ever taken to the Logan board for approval, and he asked to have one or more lawyers look into whether it’s valid.

School Board approves $310M budget
-- Robert Lee Long, Desoto Times-Tribune

Mississippi: June 23, 2017 -- The DeSoto County Board of Education approved its $310 million-dollar budget at a recessed meeting Thursday as Mississippi's largest district prepares for the new school year ahead. DeSoto County Superintendent of Education Cory Uselton said this new 2017-18 budget reflects an increased emphasis on classroom instruction, with more than 73 percent of the School District's budget appropriated for classroom instruction, up from 71 percent.

Linwood Holton students hope to take garden education to next level
-- Chelsea Rarrick,

Virginia: June 23, 2017 -- RICHMOND, Va. -- At Holton Elementary school in Richmond, students connect what they’ve learned in the classroom, with what is outside in their school garden. But now, teachers and parents want to take their garden to the next level. “We have maxed out our volunteer capacity to rely purely on parent volunteers to come and work with the teachers and bring their kids out,” said parent Anne Chamberlain. A GoFundMe account has been created to raise money to hire a part-time garden educator so every student in the school is able to get this kind of hands-on learning experience. “That position would be able to partner with every single teacher here at the school to co-create curriculum that’s based on the SOLs and the learnings that they’ve got coming down the pike in the classroom,” said Chamberlain. Former Holton teacher Ryan Owenby is currently working on the current garden education with third-grade students, as a pilot program. Owenby plans the entire lessons for the teachers. “He’s had such an impact on my students, and I think that he could really help the rest of the students at Holton as well,’ said teacher Sydney Bauman. Bauman is one of the third-grade teachers who has been able to get the experience first-hand. “Some of them may not have understood really what I was teaching in the classroom until they actually come out and look at it,” she said. The goal is to raise $10,000 and to possibly have Holton lead the way for other schools.

Consultants release preliminary cost estimates to replace or renovate aging high school, transportation building
-- Redd Kelley, The Herald Times

Colorado: June 23, 2017 -- MEEKER | Denver-based planning consultants Anne Weber and Linda Wagner of Bennett Wagner Grody Architects (BWGA) led the discussion at both the Meeker School District’s facilities master planning advisory group and public meetings last Thursday at the high school. The public meeting began with a tour of the bus garage, typically referred to as the “bus barn,” and the shop, art and vocational class area of the school. BWGA presented lists of the worst identified deficiencies of both the high school and the bus barn. Their lists included photographs along with most of the identified issues. The district’s transportation director, Roy Wedding, who has been with the district 28 years, hosted the bus barn visit.

New Johnson school site being prepared; field restrooms next step
-- Darlene J. Swiger, The Bridgeport News

West Virginia: June 22, 2017 -- Work is moving quickly on the first phase of the new $16.1 million Johnson Elementary School with site preparation and location of utilities. Harrison County Schools Assistant Superintendent of Operations Anthony Fratto said footers have been poured. “Because we’re raising the site up, they poured the footers and then they will fill around it. The critical part now is location of the utilities. Some are being moved, and some are being installed and rerouted. It’s all underground. They are working on the electric, gas line, drainage and water supply,” Fratto said.

Thousands petition to modernize Richmond schools
-- Brendan King,

Virginia: June 22, 2017 -- RICHMOND, Va., -- A political group made up of Richmond citizens gathered in front of City Hall to call on Mayor Levar Stoney to renovate the city's "obsolete" schools, Thursday morning. The School Modernization Charter Change campaign revealed they have collected more than 6,600 signatures on their petition titled, "Fulfilling the Promise of Equal Educational Opportunities," since they began their efforts on Primary Day.

DL School Board approves $39 million budget for FY 2018
-- Vicki Gerdes,

Minnesota: June 22, 2017 -- Enrollment at Detroit Lakes Public Schools has been on a slow but steady rise over the past 10 years — which is a good thing, when you consider that the State of Minnesota's education aid funding formula is based primarily on a school district's average daily membership, or ADM. "We've had moderate, but consistent growth in enrollment, from about 2,700 in the 2007-08 school year to a projected 3,106 students in 2017-18," says School District Business Manager Ryan Tangen.

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