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Marathon parking lot bid OK’d

PGA bid will save $100K from engineer’s initial project estimate

The Marathon Board of Education last week Wednesday awarded a bid to construct a north parking lot at Marathon Area Elementary School (MAES), saving around $100,000 on an engineer’s estimate. The board accepted the low bid from PGA, Inc. Wausau, for $293,730, a substantially lower cost than the $390,000 estimate from Rettler Corp., Stevens Point.

District administrator Rick Parks said the bid price covered all aspects of the parking lot project, but not installation of streetlights which will be bid out separately.

Board members were pleased to get a price break on the parking lot project.

“It’s very good,” said board member Lia Klumpyan.

In other board business:

_ Board members approved a one year 2020-21 school year bus contract with Fischer Transportation, Fenwood. In the contract, the school district agrees to pay the bus company $319 per day per bus, instead of a monthly rate, over 175 student contact days. The contract specifies that the district will pay Fischer Transportation 80 percent of its contracted amount should school be closed (possibly because of COVID-19 but for any other reason). This payment will help the company make payments on its fleet of newer buses. The average age of Marathon school buses is 4.8 years old.

Administrator Parks said the district will likely pay Fischer Transportation for double routes needed to bus students while socially distanced and to disinfect buses after each route.

Board member Brian Gumtz abstained from the bus contract vote.

_ The school board voted to approve a reduced contract with Expeditionary Learning (EL) at Marathon Venture Academy (MVA) for $11,450. Teacher Tera Fieri, hired as an instructional coach, will take over some of the school’s EL duties.

_ Board members increased the pay range of school support staff after administrator Parks said it was difficult to find employees at current wages rates. In the new rates, the district will pay higher wages rates based on employee education: $12-16 per hour for high school graduates; $13-17 per hour for people with an associates degree; and $13.50-17.50 per hour for people with a bachelor’s degree.

Parks said the pay raise would affect around six employees.

_ Administrator Parks announced the local Marathon Athletic Club has donated approximately $20,000 towards a discus and shot put area currently under construction east of the high school track. The donation includes concrete pads for shot and discus plus a water irrigation system for grass.

Board member Ted Knoeck, a MAC member, said construction of the new field events area increased Marathon High School’s chances of hosting track sectionals. Concession profits from these large events, he said, help the MAC fund various school projects.

_ Board members voted to hire teachers, a counselor and aides. They are Jill Patten as MVA math/English teacher; Matthew Hessel, MVA science teacher; Gina Smith as MVA reading/ ELA teacher; Michelle Waldvogel as MAES/MVA school counselor; and Tori Seehafer, Leah Stencil, Laura Deininger, and Karin Dodson as teacher aides.

_ Principal Beranek reported that high school graduation held on the football field went well, was appreciated by parents and students and some asked that all graduations be held on the field.