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Gettysburg High graduation ceremony moved to May 18

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Gettysburg High School’s graduation ceremony will be held a week earlier than originally planned this year.
The decision was made during the Feb. 10 meeting of the Gettysburg School Board. The original plan was to hold the graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 24, but due to construction time lines, primarily with the demolition of the old high school building, the board voted to move the graduation date up to Sunday, May 18, at 2 p.m.
It is hoped that the announcement of the date change is done early enough that plans may be rescheduled for reception locations and, hopefully, no graduation announcements have been printed.
Demolition is scheduled to begin on the old school building on June 1, and many of the items in that building will be used in the new school. The gym will be needed for storage during the last week between the end of classes on May 22 and the start of the demolition.
Exchange Program
An account was set up some time ago to help with the foreign exchange student program from donations through the estate of the late Dorothy Frankhauser, whose family hosted exchange students at GHS for many years. The account allows for the host family of each foreign exchange student to receive $500 to provide a little help in addition to the funding they receive from the exchange program. The account is set up to remain at $5,000 per year for perpetuity, and is checked annually.
New School
Some issues regarding soil test results caused a two day delay in the construction project, but communication channels are now clear and the tests results are good. Board members Brian Robbennolt and Kay Schmidt, who serve on the construction committee, reported that the crews are doing everything necessary to make sure the work is being done correctly and all the test results for the soils and compaction are good.
It was asked if there is an issue with dust in the gymnasium. There was an unconfirmed report of a student who was getting sick due to practicing in the gym with construction dust. School Superintendent Tim Hagedorn said there was an issue the first night after work was done in the lobby, but steps were taken to eliminate it and there has been no dust contact with student athletes since. He also reported that there was a thorough cleaning of the gym, so there is no problem with construction dust.
Kenny Edgeman from Sharpe Enterprises, which is the construction crew working on the school, was available to answer questions. The project time line came up, and Edgeman said that they are doing the best they can and are looking forward to the nice days ahead. He also said that the gym lobby is emptied and the floor has been removed, however, they are waiting until basketball districts are done before removing walls. That is to ensure that all water and sewer lines remain in place, along with electrical lines.
The color committee, which includes board member Kim Schweiss and school principal Wendy Smith, was directed to a website to check for wall samples to be sent to get a better visual for different parts of the project.
Scott Sikkink from HKG Architects also updated the board. He gave some examples of the committee work that is going into the project and encouraged the board members to ask questions regarding the construction. He said that the compaction and soils are good and there are processes in place to ensure that the tests are going well. Sikkink said it is not unusual for things to come up during the construction, and changes will be addressed as they arise. Despite the tough winter conditions, the weather is improving and the project is going better, and the building should be here the week of Feb. 17. He said that with the good communication between the different entities working on the school and the construction committee, that they need to feel good about what is happening with the building project.
The board briefly discussed an auction of the salvageable items from the school. Because of the short amount of time to clear out the building, it was suggested that an agreement could be made with one person to purchase everything of value and remove it quickly. There had also been some requests for purchasing bricks in order for people to have a sentimental keepsake. No further action was taken.
Impact Aid
School Business Manager Barb Everson told the board that the Impact Aid/Indian Policies and Procedures application was submitted, and that there is still some tweaking that needs to be done. She will make an appointment with the Tribal Chairman to gather some additional information for the application. The board approved the second reading and work will continue to obtain the additional financial assistance for the school through the policy.
Resignations
Letters of resignation were read by the board. One was submitted and accepted from Tylee Norman, who resigned from her position as the ag instructor and FFA adviser at the end of the school year. In her letter she said provisions will need to be made for the summer 4H pig project.
Julie Williams submitted a letter of resignation as the one-act play director. Since that is an appointed extra curricular position, another person will be found to fill the job, so no action was taken.
Administrative Report
Hagedorn talked a little bit about the calendar for the next year.
The DARE Graduation was held for the fifth and sixth grade students, with the graduates addressed by the state’s Attorney General. There was an accident in which a person fell and suffered a broken arm on the way to the program, and the school’s liability insurance covers accidents such as that. There are many steps being taken to keep the ice clear from around the building, but it has been impossible to clear it all with the cold weather.
The Academic Olympics were held in Pierre and the students did well in the competition.
Bullying speakers gave presentations to students and parents. Hagedorn talked about criticisms in the paper involving incentives given to students to get their parents to attend, but said that very often is it necessary to offer incentives to get some parents involved. He was pleased with the large number of parents who attended and heard the message.
Lots of activities are coming up with both basketball and wrestling, and the sports teams are all enjoying great seasons.
He had been talking with Venture Communications to help set up a local channel for the school that would allow them to televise activities and provide live broadcasts.
A large pine tree at the school will need to come down with the demolition of the old building and new gymnasium construction. Hagedorn is looking to see if it is possible for the tree to be moved, and if not, perhaps it could be used at the capitol building in Pierre as the rotunda Christmas tree. The hope is to find a way to save it, though.
The meeting was adjourned around 9:25 and the board will meet again in regular session at 7:30 p.m. in the elementary school library on Monday, March 10. The meetings are open to the public, and the minutes are published this week on page 13 of the News. You may also read them online at www.pottercountynews.com or at www.sdpublicnotices.com
-Molly McRoberts

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