School Board okays track improvements
By Neal A. Shipman
Watford City High School’s track will be going fully electronic this spring following the McKenzie County Public School District No. 1’s school board approval of spending $5,000 toward the purchase of an automated timing system as well as making other improvements at the track.
“In addition to purchasing an automated timing system, we will be adding new landing pits to the pole vault area so that this area can be used for long jump and triple jump competition,” stated Dave Gumke, head boys track coach. “In addition, we will be improving the shot put area and installing concrete aprons in the pole vault pit area.”
According to Gumke, the new improvements will make the Watford City High School track one of the best in western North Dakota, especially with the new electronic timing system.
Funding for the track improvements will come from the high school activities account, but according to Gumke, several businesses and individuals have also donated towards the project.
“West Dakota Ready Mix will be donating the concrete for the pole vault area, Lund Oil Company is donating the sand for the long jump area, Reservation Telephone Cooperative is donating the trenching and a portion of the cable for the automated timing system, and Richard Johnson contributed towards the purchase of new starting blocks for the running events,” stated Gumke.
Steve Holen, McKenzie County Public School District No. 1 superintendent, also updated the board on the status of several building projects underway.
“The high school roofing project has been completed as well as the installation of new security cameras in the high school and elementary school,” stated Holen. “In addition, the water shutoff project and the audiovisual improvements in the high school Commons Area and Media Center are done.”
According to Holen, the only projects left are the installation of a new fire alarm system in the high school, the installation of a new master clock and lights at the high school and painting the hand railings going into the athletic field.
Holen also informed the board that as of Sept. 8, the district had an enrollment of 582 students, which is up 45 students from the same time last year.
“It is hard to predict what our enrollment numbers will be in the future,” stated Holen. “We don’t know what impact the new pipeline companies that are moving into the area and the new proposed gas plant that will be built here will have on our enrollment. But we do know that if we continue to grow, we’ll have to assess what kind of teachers we may need to hire.”
In a separate issue, Holen also informed the board that he is requesting that the City of Watford City install fencing near the elementary school to keep walking traffic from the man camp, which is located south of the school, from entering school property.
“In addition, to keeping walking traffic from the man camp off the school grounds, I would also like to have a privacy fence installed between the man camp and the elementary school,” stated Holen.
In other business, the school board:
• Approved paying $3,000 for membership in the ND Association of Oil Producing Counties.
• Approved installing dirt prior to seeding on the entrance walkway area into the athletic field.
• Approved spending $23,000 to caulk the windows and seal the exterior walls at the high school.
•Approved hiring Kari Caldwell as a kindergarten instructor at $41,373.12, prorated to allow for the 10 days of classroom instruction that she missed.
• Tabled action on a policy establishing a compensation plan for district teachers who teach dual credit courses.
• Was informed that the Alexander Public School District No. 2 would like to co-op with the W.C.H.S. FFA program.
• Approved Supt. Holen meeting with the Watford City Park District to discuss leasing park district property for additional bus parking.
• Was informed that West Dakota Ready Mix had donated $3,000 to the elementary school for the purchase of teacher supplies.
• Was informed by the Planning Committee that they are developing plans for an Early Retirement Incentive Plan.