Board splits on vote for AC in gym

There was a great deal of discussion on a proposal to install air conditioning in the high school gymnasium during the meeting of the Broken Bow Board of Education Monday evening. The BBHS Booster Club has made a very generous offer to donate a minimum of $20,000 and maximum of $25,000 to the district toward the cost of installing an AC system in the gym. However, there is a contingency with that offer - the system must be installed and working by next fall. No one, including the school board members, would argue that air conditioning is desperately needed in the high school gym. That project is part of the district’s plan further down the road. Accepting this offer would just bump the project’s timeline up by about four months. That also means the district would have to come up with money they didn’t plan on having to utilize for that purpose just yet. The strategic plan, which was approved by the board a few months ago, has been to install a dust collection system in the shop area - something that is also desperately needed - by next fall. The most recent quote for that project, however, has nearly doubled from the last quote which was given just a couple of months ago. Becky Loy addressed the board on behalf of the Booster Club. She said the BBHS Booster Club board felt it was necessary to put this time restriction on the funding of the project in order to motivate the board to act quickly. In relating the urgency of addressing this situation, Loy told the board that it had come to her attention that one of the volleyball opponents Broken Bow played this season got ready to come and play here by shutting the AC off in their gym and practicing in their jackets. “That’s pretty bad,” said Loy. Board member Matthew Haumont expressed mixed feelings about the offer. “I appreciate the fact that you have made this offer - I really do. But I feel a little bit like we are being intimidated,” said Haumont. Manager of Operations Joe Shea was called in by the board to answer a few questions and share his thoughts on the matter. Shea suggested that with the transition of a new tech teacher this fall this might be a good time to step back from the dust collection project and focus on the AC project. “We have a group that’s gracious enough to donate some money for this, and it seems to me we need to take advantage of that,” said Shea. Shea says he is also not comfortable with how much the quote for the dust collection system has gone up each time. He says delaying that project would allow him more time to shop around for a better deal. After the lengthy discussion, the motion was made to approve amending the approved summer projects for 2014 to include air conditioning of the high school gym and accepting the minimum $20,000 donation from the Booster Club, with the dust collection system project to be delayed with priority until the fall of the 2014-15 school year. The motion passed 4-2; Dave Glendy and Ken Myers voted no.