School board chooses elementary school name, building update

Martin

The Jefferson Joint School District No. 251 Board of Trustees decided to name the new elementary school Cottonwood Elementary School April 10, after a poll from the district’s patrons leaned towards the name.

Director of Elementary Education, Michele Southwick, said the poll was sent to all of the patrons of the district with the six name options. Of the 1,185 patrons who voted, the top three name choices were Cottonwood Elementary, Targhee Elementary and Pioneer Elementary. Other options included Gem State Elementary, High Desert Elementary and Syringa Elementary.

Because Cottonwood was the top choice amongst the participating patrons, the board unanimously approved the name.

Superintendent Chad Martin said now that construction for the elementary school is underway, it’s time for the board to start considering how they want to configure the grades at Farnsworth Elementary when it transitions back to a middle school for the 2020-21 school year.

He said a couple options include making it a full 6th through 8th grade middle school, or making it exclusively a 6th grade center.

“We just want to let the public know that we’re starting those discussions,” Martin said.

Martin indicated that once the grade configuration is decided, they can begin planning the staffing. He said most likely by the May board meeting they will have it as an “action” item.

In other action, the board approved the guaranteed maximum price of $5.1 million for the upgrades and renovations of Midway Elementary School.

“The good news is it came in under budget,” Martin said.

He said the bids for the Harwood Elementary School project are due by May 9.

Harwood and Midway will each receive a new fire alarm system, new windows, lighting upgrades, a secure front office space and a multi-purpose room/gym for school and community use. In addition, Harwood will receive eight additional classrooms and Midway six.

The estimated combined cost for the additions was roughly $15 million.

The board also approved a contingency fund limit of $25,000 for Martin and a $50,000 limit for the building committee. This would allow Martin and the committee to approve purchases for the project up to the aforementioned limits without board approval.

“We don’t want those unforeseens to hold us up,” he said. “That way we wouldn’t have to wait for a board meeting before construction could continue.”

Anything over those limits would still need to come before the board of trustees.

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