New construction options for Lyle School aren#039;t pleasing to some

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 20, 2003

The new Lyle School construction plans presented Thursday to district residents just cost too much.

This sentiment was expressed by two district residents, school board members and Superintendent Jerry Reshetar Monday at the school board meeting.

Four plans, ranging in cost from $9.9 million to $8.7 million, were presented last week to residents. Three of the plans keep more of the original building than the $11.1 million plan district residents voted down last fall.

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The plans were drafted using results from a survey sent out to district residents about school construction. Cost was the largest concern on the survey.

Near the end of the meeting, rural Lyle residents Jeff Helly and Larry Helgeson asked why, in comparison to Medford School, remodeling Lyle School costs much more.

"We just can't afford the numbers where they're at," Helgeson said.

The Medford School District is building a new school for 850 students that was estimated at $14 million, but was bid down to a little more than $10 million. The school currently has 650 students.

Helly pointed out that Lyle has about 280 students and yet the estimates for the school hover around $9 million.

"To me it's a lot of difference," Helly said.

School board member Randy Fett said that on Thursday architect Gary Nyberg estimated to build new would cost about $10 million.

School board member Doug Young said he also was disappointed the cost estimates didn't come in lower. He suggested having contractors assess the projects to see if they would cost less to build than the current estimates. But there wouldn't be a guarantee with a contractor's estimate, either, he said.

"People are going to want to see it on a piece of paper and here you'd have to take someone's word for it," Young said.

Young also said he thinks an architect should be able to work within a price range that's acceptable to voters.

Helly said he is on a "teeter-totter" between being for and against a remodeling project, but complimented the board on continuing to pursue it.

Board members encouraged the men to keep bringing up their concerns.

"I hope you can work with us to get something passed," Fett said.

In other business:

n High school science teacher Ann Dieterich turned in her letter of resignation. She has been teaching at Lyle for three years.

n Teacher's aide Nora Mattick resigned.

n Reshetar went over test scores with the board. Eighth graders are at the state average for reading and averaged a score of 610.4 for math with is below the 629.7 state average. In 10th grade writing, the average score was 2.9, below the 3.2 average. That dip, however, represents one student's low score, Reshetar said.

"I see nice gains, but we can't sit there and pat ourselves on the back," Reshetar said.

n The board met in closed session to propose its offer for teacher contracts for next school year. The board hopes to have an agreement by the next board meeting.

The school board meets next at 7 p.m. June 16.

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