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Blue Earth Area High School gets new gym floor

By Staff | Oct 13, 2019

What may not seem like much is actually hazardous for volleyball players, basketball players, and guests who may run across the Blue Earth Area High School gymnasium floor. This floor will soon be replaced.

Blue Earth Area is in a time crunch according to their superintendent, Mandy Fletcher.

During their regular School Board meeting, held Monday, Oct. 7, Fletcher updated the board on the progress of the high school’s gymnasium floor, which was damaged prior to a computer cyber attack on Sept. 19.

The BEA High School building experienced a problem with their air conditioning and ventilation system controls during the cyber attack. Apparent rain issues in August were the reported main cause of the damage. It was reported condensation formed on the floor of the gymnasium the day of the cyber attack, which made it necessary to postpone the scheduled volleyball game at the time.

Now, those games will be postponed even longer. During their meeting, Superintendent Fletcher informed the board that the gymnasium floor is unsafe to compete on, and will have to be refinished.

“We have a narrow window of opportunity to get this floor finished by the time winter sports begin,” said Fletcher. “We will be starting refinishing the floor in mid-October and will be finished within five to six weeks. This will affect our last home volleyball game, among other events held in the gym.”

Fletcher stated the hope was to wait until the end of the year to redesign logos and redo the gymnasium floor, but now, that process has to be set back in order to get the floor finished before winter sports begin.

She received good student input from high school students about the design of the new gym floor. Graphic designers came up with four designs and spoke with designated class officers in the high school for their opinions on the designs.

“We brought the class officer’s options to our facilities committee meeting and they all agreed, so we know what direction we are going in,” said Fletcher. “It’s just a matter of getting it done in a timely manner.”

Though this was unexpected news, there were still positives highlighted by the superintendent and BEA’s elementary and high school principals.

Fletcher reported student enrollment is up from last year’s October numbers. In 2018, BEA’s K-12 enrollment was sitting at 1,018, while this year’s enrollment sits at 1,036. Even more encouraging is Fletcher’s report of the free and reduced lunch numbers are down four percent from last year.

“The train is moving on the right track,” Fletcher told the School Board.

In other updates, the School Board:

Heard from BEAHS band director Noah Anderson on progress of the band’s trip to Chicago. Anderson stated he is still working diligently at collecting applicable grants for the trip in order for all students to be able to afford to go. Anderson hopes the group will be hosted by a Chicago-area university so students will be able to take a master class while they visit. They will also be seeing “My Fair Lady.”

Received an update from Jenn Berkner on the school’s training of cyber security. Berkner stated this training is not reactive to the security breach and has been in place at the school for approximately one year. She shares she and IT Specialist Brandon Ankeny have been working with Cohort, a program through South Central Service Cooperative. She and Ankeny will be working on a number of aspects for cyber security at the school.

Found out the Blue Earth Area School Foundation was able to fund all current requests for student programs throughout the District. A total of 1,061 students will be directly impacted by these funded requests. From field day trips to taking home free books, the BEAS Foundation has been able to fund all of these programs.

“A huge, tremendous thank you to everyone who supports the Foundation and participates in its fundraisers,” Fletcher said. “These directly affect the majority of our students and we have sincere gratitude for the work they do to raise these funds for our students.”

Were updated on the levy referendum progression. Fletcher stated she has held four levy referendum discussions throughout the School District so far, and they are going well, with an average of 20 people in attendance at each meeting. Fletcher mentioned she felt good about the turn out and ongoing conversations regarding the levy referendum.

Approved a resolution to the Minnesota State High School League Foundation for financial support of student activity fees. With a motion from Frankie Bly and a second by Sara Hauskins, the resolution passed unanimously.

Sifted through and approved the 2019-20 World’s Best Workforce report.

Discussed and later approved the hire of two special education paraprofessionals and one Jumpstart teacher.