De Pere school board discusses Redbird Stadium project, budget
By Lea Kopke
Press Times News Intern
DE PERE – Construction work on Redbird Stadium and Dickinson Elementary School are on schedule to be completed before the end of the summer.
The De Pere school board received an update on the status of both projects during its virtual meeting Monday, June 15.
“Things have been moving along quite well on (the stadium) site,” said Mike Helmrick, Rettler Corporation project manager. “We’re getting close to being up and out of the ground… that’s giving us a good handle on how we’re progressing against our contingency (fund), which we have used pretty minimally.”
The Redbird Stadium project includes a new grandstand, replaced bleachers, visitor side seating, a new plaza and walkways, energy-efficient lighting and stormwater drainage improvements.
Helmrick said it’s on schedule to be finished by mid to late August.
The Dickinson remodel is roughly three weeks ahead of schedule and should be completed by July 31, said Buildings and Grounds Director Pat Meyer.
Meyer said asbestos abatement is complete, and the new concrete block walls and the penetration from the book room into the library should be erected by the end of the week.
“The next steps that’ll happen is once the masons pull off, there’ll be a soundproofing material put into the concrete block walls,” he said. “And then they will start doing block filling with the painting, and the painting is next to start.”
Preliminary budget approval
After discussing changes made to the 2020-21 preliminary budget because of changes in enrollment and staffing numbers, it was unanimously approved by the board.
Business Manager Dawn Foeller said she decided to create the preliminary budget based off of a $179 revenue limit increase per pupil, because there is still no budget repair bill from the State of Wisconsin.
“I also asked other colleagues what they planned on doing,” Foeller said. “Namely, Keith Lucius from Ashwaubenon, and he said, ‘We haven’t heard anything different (about the revenue cap).’ So I did stay with that in there.”
The district’s estimated total tax levy for 2020-21 is about $18.4 million.
Final approval of the levy is scheduled for this fall.
Insurance renewal approvals
The board unanimously approved the renewal of workers compensation insurance with United Heartland.
Foeller said this is despite receiving a quote from Liberty Mutual, which would have cost between $27,000 and $30,000 less.
“In speaking with our insurance consultant, Kathy Johnson, she believes we should stay with Heartland,” she said. “She doesn’t believe that the savings we’d see… is worth it. She gave a few reasons.”
Firstly, Foeller said savings with Liberty Mutual would likely be short-lived because Liberty is not as good at claims or loss control as United Heartland, because of its Milwaukee-based location.
Secondly, United Heartland loss control specialist for the district, Twila Hurst, has been active in managing the district’s loss control by visiting each location multiple times and offering solutions on how to improve safety, Foeller said.
Lastly, she said United Heartland has been active in responding and processing workers’ compensation claims. It has also negotiated pricing with local medical facilities so employees who need treatment can do so at a discounted rate.