The two-year-old football field at the Manawa Activity Complex may not have been built properly.
That was the center of a discussion District Administrator Ed Dombrowski had with the Manawa School Board at its meeting, Monday, Nov. 18.
Dombrowski said representatives from the Manawa Booster Club attended a Buildings and Grounds Committee meeting to discuss whether the proper procedures were being used to maintain the football field. He said there were issues with the field, and they had problems growing grass THERE.
The consensus at the meeting was to go back to Point of Beginning, the company that built the field, and compare what it would do compared to the local agents the district hired to maintain the field.
“The local agents I felt very comfortable with hiring,” Dombrowski said. “There was a tremendous cost savings. I felt that when we originally talked with that person from the local company they could give us the same amount of professional treatment that we were looking for.”
Dombrowski also said Point of Beginning told him that as long as the program was followed everything should be fine.
“Unfortunately not everything was fine,” Dombrowski said.
Compounding problems, Dombrowski said there was a washout last year after the field was seeded. Later there was a lightning storm that blew out a meter that controlled the watering system. He said that wasn’t noticed for four or five weeks, so part of the field did not get watered properly.
Because the field had some rippling after the first football season played on it, Dombrowski said it was decided to skim the top of the field off and recrown it.
“The field just didn’t hold up,” Dombrowski said.
The Buildings and Grounds Committee had recently recommended that the district contract with Point of Beginning to maintain the field. New information surfaced between the Buildings and Grounds Committee meeting and the school board meeting.
Dombrowski said it was alleged that the equipment used on the field for the soil replacement was not the proper equipment. It was also alleged that the field itself was not properly laid out.
Point of Beginning was asked to take soil samples and send them to a state lab. The district’s independent contractor hired to maintain the field used an auger to dig sixteen inch holes in several locations on the field so the soil layers could be inspected.
“Now we are going to have the issue of having two groups of people saying whatever was done was done wrong,” Dombrowski said. “The reality is, do we really want to dig up that field and have another fiasco like we had a year ago? We’ll have a brand new field. Or do we stay with what we got and make sure that it’s fixed. I don’t know what the answer is. All I know is, somewhere along the line, Point of Beginning is going to have to come here and do something.
Board President Kurt Kreklow said the board will need to wait for the data to come back from the lab to see if there is a problem.
“The important thing is by seeding and aerating the field right now, if we end up not doing anything, we did everything this fall that we could have done,” said board member, Paul Sturm. “All I want to see is the process play out.”
Sturm added that once the results are back it is important to get recommendations from professionals to address the issues.
“We had three games played on it after substantial rains,” Sturm said. “All the fields [in the conference] got torn up this year. There is an element of that in there, but I think there’s a larger issue we’re looking at that goes back to when the field was built.”
Snow removal contract
The board unanimously awarded a snow removal contract to Hass Excavating. Board member David Strebe was absent.
During the discussion earlier in the meeting, Sturm told the board he had received a letter from Quality Concrete and Excavating, Inc., the other company that bid for the contract. Sturm said the letter was addressed to the Manawa School Board.
“It sounds to me what he is saying is that his machines cost more per hour to operate but move more snow per hour,” Sturm said.
Several board members said it was difficult to compare the bids because of the different equipment used, and being unfamiliar with the equipment.
“I just want it to be fair here,” Sturm said.
Kreklow said the recommendation from the Buildings and Grounds Committee was based on two things – the cost compared to last year and the satisfaction the district has with the work of Hass Excavating over the years.
Assistant Finance Manager
At a recent school board meeting, a stipend for this school year to the assistant finance manager was defeated and sent to the Policy and Personnel Committee. After discussing it at the committee level, the committee recommended paying the stipend.
Dombrowski said since the business manager is part time, the assistant finance manager is responsible for providing business information when the manager is not present.
“This is something that was offered last year as a stipend so actually this year she has not received the stipend. She’s actually working for less money,” Dombrowski said.
Dan Storch, business manager for the district, provided the board with salaries of comparable positions at other districts in the conference.
“If we look at the position we have in our district, that is paid well below the average,” Storch said. “Without the stipend she is being paid $1.27 per hour less than the average. If we added that into her hourly rate she still would be below average.”
The board unanimously approved the stipend.
The board accepted the following resignations: Susan Rucks, EC teacher; Kris Lettau (retirement), teacher’s aide; Mary Bonikowske, guidance secretary; Scott Hahn, wrestling coach; and Jeff Bortle, athletic director.
Bortle stepped down as athletic director because he accepted the commissioner position within the conference. He will continue to teach fulltime in the Manawa School District. Bortle will step down as athletic director on Dec. 9.
• The board accepted a donation of $1,000 from Peter and Mary Griffin to be used for the Little Wolf High School weight room renovations. It also accepted a donation of $499 from the Manawa Elementary PTO.
• Approved hiring Brad Johnson as head wrestling coach and Dan Kundinger as assistant wrestling coach.
• Approved hiring a long-term substitute teacher for early childhood.
• Approved hiring Rita Kreklow as library aide for the Manawa Elementary School. Kurt Kreklow abstained from this vote.
• Approved educational materials purchase for Economics, Business and Computer Science.
• Approved school nurse agreement with Jamie Trzebiatowski for the 2013-14 school year.
• Approved a cheerleading coach agreement with Jessica Nelson for the 2013-14 school year.
The December Manawa School Board meeting will be held Monday, Dec. 16, but will start at an earlier time. It will start at 5:30 p.m.