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USC corrects dirt issue at old school site

By Staff | Jun 26, 2016

The old United South Central school site may look complete, but it’s what’s under the dirt that has the USC?School Board worried.

Earlier in the year, Superintendent Dr. Jerry Jensen shared with the School Board that the old school site did not pass a limited site assessment that was issued by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) after USC?was required to conduct soil sampling at the site.

The testing was done near an underground tank, which was removed from the site in the summer of 2015. The soil surrounding the tank was tested for contaminated soil and ground water.

The soil and aggregate rock that was placed back after demolition was not considered clean enough to be put back, even though the soil was already put back into the ground. This is where both the USC School and the city of Wells had some concern.

Dr. Jensen later stated that he talked with Kevit Excavating, the group that handled the demolition and ground fill, and was told that everything was done properly.

That is when Dr. Jensen hired the help of Braun Intertec to make sure that things were going according to plan. Unfortunately, Braun Intertec’s group informed the School Board that some of the fill did have some concerns on its test results and would need to be dug up again and properly replaced without any polluted or contaminated fill.

Now, the work to remove the contaminated fill and replace it with proper fill has begun.

Both Kevit Excavating and Braun Intertec brought members of their teams to the old school site to begin the arduous process of decontaminating the area.

Work started bright and early at the old site at 8 a.m. last Wednesday. And to make sure things started off on the right foot, a few members of the School Board were there as well.

This project is on Kevit Excavating’s dime due to the fact that it would be considered their mistake for putting back contaminated fill, but the cost of hiring Braun Intertec to oversee the project is a cost for the USC?School District.

Jensen shared with the School Board that, according to Braun Intertec, the whole project should be completed by July 15.

The USC School Board also:

Swore in the new student representative, Maddie Hart, for the 2016-17 school year.

Visited with Chuck Schulenberg, of Wells Federal Bank, to approve the school’s property and liability insurance proposal for 2016-17.

Approved the revised 2015-16 budget, adopted the preliminary 2016-17 budget, and approved the Minnesota Rural Education Association (MREA) membership for 2016-17.

Jensen stated the only thing that would look unusual on the budget was the purchase of the bus garage, which on paper looks like the school is over by $145,000 but insists the one time expenditure has been placed into the appropriate transportation fund.

Discussed the possibility of replacing both gyms’ lighting. Dr. Jensen had discussed with Retrofit Lighting of Owatonna the possibility of getting new LED?bulbs for both gyms.

He stated that the savings on bulbs alone would be worth the effort, and in the long run would give the school another rebate to use since the technology involving lighting has changed so drastically in the past few years.

Jensen also mentioned it would vastly improve the lighting in both gyms, as well as prevent more lightbulb replacements down the road.

The School Board decided to wait until the next meeting when they would have more information available to them regarding pricing for the project.

Received an update from Dr. Jensen regarding the transition to new USC Superintendent, Keith Flemming. Jensen stated that he and Flemming have spent many hours going over materials to make sure both Fleming and the school have a smooth transition.

Jensen also mentioned to the School Board that his last day would be June 30.

“I just want to say I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here at USC. I’m pretty confident I’m going to miss you more than you will miss me,” said Jensen to those present at the School Board meeting. “I want to say to Mr. Fleming that he is entering a great school community and I’m looking forward to the great things that will happen here. I think this School Board has put USC?in a great position. Good things have happened, but now we have the potential for even greater things to happen in the future. It will be fun to see where it goes from here.”