BROOKINGS – Brookings School Board members toured Mickelson Middle School (shown above and below), Hillcrest Elementary and Medary Elementary on Monday to inspect construction progress as well as construction needs and opportunities. 

Mechanics and architects Eric Anderson, Blayne Parkos and Ron Spoden showed the board members around the new construction at MMS and where maintenance and replacement is needed within the elementary schools.

To cope with growing enrollment, the MMS remodeling and expansion is reconfiguring existing space and adding new classrooms, an administrative addition to control the main entry to the school, a wellness addition, accessibility upgrades and more. The board previously approved spending up to $24.6 million on the work, and it’s expected to be done by the end of summer 2020.

Hillcrest and Medary will soon need new boilers and water pipes, a new roof as well as needing safety systems – such as the fire alarm system – to be ADA compliant. 

“It’s one thing sitting in a meeting and having your architects tell you and it’s another when you get to actually put your eyes on it,” said Superintendent Klint Willert. The school board knew of necessary upcoming changes for the elementary schools back in November and have been and will continue to discuss the strategies for how to move forward on these projects.

Willert wants to create a committee involving various professionals and locals to discuss and strategize as to what the next steps are for improving the buildings as well as curriculums. 

In other business Monday: 

• Former Harrisburg High School Principal Kevin Lein was officially approved as the new principal for Camelot Intermediate School.

• Board members said that the Gibbons Adventure Course, formerly known as Project Adventure, won’t be in use any longer at Brookings High School. Insurance companies that Brookings School District officials have spoken with refuse to insure the facilities. 

The course was established nearly 40 years ago and had been a staple for high schoolers in the Brookings community.

Balance, fear of heights, courage and trust were tested on a climbing wall, zipline, a catwalk, wire bridge, swing, a rope ladder with rungs increasingly further apart, and a giant, unsteady pole that tapers at the top. Students climbed to the top and then jumped to a trapeze bar.

The school board is in discussion about how and when to decommission the course located south of the high school.

• Van Fishback is the new president of the Brookings School Board, and Debra DeBates is the new vice president. Fishback has served as the president of the board in the past.

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