Lyle fills principal vacancy

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Royce Helmbrecht's contract for principal was approved by the Lyle School Board at its meeting Monday.

The board also went over two plans for renovation to the school.

Helmbrecht, a vice principal at Austin High School, was recently hired by the Lyle school system to replace Tom Hiebert. Hiebert was hired as superintendent at a school near Hutchinson.

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"We're thrilled to get his experience, background and his reputation," said Lyle superintendent Jerry Reshetar. "Everybody's been asking me: How did you get him?"

Helmbrecht heard about the position three weeks ago and decided to apply for it.

"My faith, my faith in God just told me something was going to happen by the end of the school year," Helmbrecht said.

He enjoyed his time in Austin but said he usually switches jobs every three to five years. He has been in Austin for nine years.

Helmbrecht said he's excited about the changes happening in the school, especially the renovation. He said it helps that the community is behind the changes.

"People stand strongly behind the school," Helmbrecht said.

Reshetar presented two plans to the board members for the school's renovation. One plan would keep the gymnasium and elementary school and replace the rest. The other plan would only keep the gymnasium. Costs for the plans have not been figured out yet.

"We had hoped to have costs on each of these by now," Reshetar said, adding that he expects the architect to have costs by August.

The committee Reshetar has been working with had some goals they kept in mind when choosing the plans. They wanted the media center accessible to all students, new science rooms, a music facility with better acoustics, new lockers rooms to accommodate middle school athletes and another gymnasium.

Both plans put the schools on one level, which means it takes up more land. Because of that, the renovations may take up part of one of the baseball fields, Reshetar said.

The members considered how to solve this problem. Some asked if a field could be built off-site.

The board members also asked about a some property on the block that the school doesn't own. A sign shop used to own a building in the northwest corner of the property, but the business no longer exists. The members thought they would probably have to condemn the building and tear it down.

The plan that keeps the gym and the elementary school would take at least three years and be done in three phases. The plan that only keeps the gym could be done in about two years.

The plans will be presented again at the Aug. 12 meeting and the members will vote on them.

"It's an exciting time," said Dwight DeBoer, a school board member. "We're looking forward to getting it out to voters."

Residents will vote on a referendum in November and if that passes, construction would start Spring 2003.

In other business:

n The board approved an enrollment agreement with St. Ansgar. Children in Iowa can attend school in Minnesota and vice versa. St. Ansgar children wanting to attend Lyle will be able to register after the spring open enrollment deadline.

n The Staff Development Committee chose days to have staff development meetings. Chairman David Dahlquist said two days will be set aside for cross-curriculum planning during the year. From 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 28, the school will hold a "Back to School" night in which students and their parents will be able to meet teachers and go over requirements for the year.

n Reshetar went over the Health and Safety plan to submit to the state. It addressed five areas: air quality, confined spaces, machine guards, the safety committee and injury prevention. The school needs to do a better job of blocking off confined spaces, such as the tunnel in the school. It also has to add more machine guards to equipment in the shop classroom. Otherwise, the school is meeting the state standards.

The Lyle School Board will meet again 6 p.m. Aug. 12.

Cari Quam can be reached at 434-2235 or by e-mail at