Bethel board talks facilities

By Cecilia Fox -

BETHEL TWP. — At their meeting Monday, the Bethel school board heard an update on facilities.

A project renovating several spaces into classrooms is expected to start Sept. 17 and end the second week in November, board president Jacob King said. A dumpster for the removal of construction debris will be moved onsite later this week.

Last month, the board accepted a bid from Becker Construction in the amount of $174,000 for the conversion and renovation of classrooms spaces. The district did not receive any bids for the project earlier this year, so it could not be completed over the summer.

The work includes the conversion of the old high school cafeteria into two classroom spaces, including one specially designed special education classroom. A basement classroom in the oldest building will be renovated so that it can be used again, she said.

“We needed the additional classroom space due to the increase in enrollment,” King said.

Because the classrooms were not ready for the start of school, some classes will be held in the board of education meeting room in the elementary building and in the old auditorium.

At a previous board meeting, a parent expressed concerns about special education classes being held in an upstairs room in the elementary building. She also noted that some students with disabilities might have difficulty adjusting to moving into a new classroom partway through the school year when the renovations are complete.

King addressed those concerns Monday night, saying that the district currently does not have any wheelchair-using students in those grade levels. He also noted that the students would only being using the elementary building classroom for part of the school day.

“The students are not in this room for the entire day, only at certain times of the day, as they were last year,” he said. “Should a new student enroll who has a mobility issue prior to the renovations being completed, we will assess the situation at that time and take appropriate actions to make it as easy as possible for the incoming student.”

Superintendent Ginny Potter said the district also replaced four air conditioning units in the elementary school recently.

“The coils went bad or the compressors were bad. Instead of fixing them, it’s better to replace them. And wouldn’t you know it? It happened on the hottest day,” she said.

Following the weekend’s heavy rain, the were some water issues in the buildings, Potter said.

Potter said there was a small leak in the middle school gym and noted that it did not come through the roof, but rather the heating unit. There were also some leaks in the kindergarten classrooms. She added that there were no issues in the parking lot and drive where drainage work was completed.

The board approved the hiring of a Social-Emotional Wellness Counselor, Sara Davidson. Davidson told the board that she has eight and a half years of experience in the mental health field.

“I’m really excited to be joining the team,” she said.

The board also accepted and approved Rita Boyer’s notice of her intent to retire at the end of the school year. Boyer has taught in the district for 30 years and Potter described her notice of intent as a “tough letter to receive.”

By Cecilia Fox

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Reach Cecilia Fox at