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Uinta County Herald | A new football pitch planned for the fall

EVANSTON — If all goes as planned, students at Evanston High School will have a new field to play on in the fall of 2022. The Uinta County School District #1 Board of Trustees has received an update on the field project during the regular monthly meeting held on Tuesday 1 February.

Facilities manager Jaraun Dennis told trustees that final figures have arrived for plans to install a new grass pitch for football, soccer and gymnastics courts, among other uses, and redo the track surface in high school. Trustees had previously authorized Superintendent Ryan Thomas to contract up to $3 million in district funds for the project, and Dennis said the approximate costs for the field and track project were around $2.5 million. dollars. About $600,000 of those costs can be paid for with major maintenance funds, Dennis said, while the district plans to use deferred reserve funds for the bulk of the costs. By state law, districts are limited on the amount that can be kept in reserves and funds above that threshold must be returned to the state – it can literally become a situation of using them or lose them. Because the district is very close to this limit, spending these funds saves the district from having to return them to the state.

The district also plans to replace the lighting surrounding the field at a cost of approximately $178,000, which can also be paid for with major maintenance funds. Dennis said the plan is for local Searle Bros. come at the end of February to begin work on moving the sloping hill that currently exists between the pitch and the nearby church, in order to move the pole vault and jump areas to that. location so that the pitch can be expanded to support football matches. Work on the ground itself could begin as early as the end of April, weather permitting. Dennis described the project as a nearly 20-year project, as the high school has had football teams for about as long, but they’ve never been able to play games in their stadium because the field wasn’t wide enough. to meet the needs of the sport. regulations.

Administrators also received an update on the district’s plans to spend approximately $7.9 million in U.S. Rescue Plan (ARP) dollars Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) 3. Funds designated as ESSER 1 were spent during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the District is still spending a portion of ESSER 2 funds received under federal COVID relief legislation.

For the use of ESSER 3, the district needed to seek input from stakeholders, including staff, parents, students, and the community, on how best to spend the money within the boundaries of the 14 areas designated by the federal government. This input was solicited through an online survey and the district also held a public hearing on the matter on January 13. Of that $7.9 million, the district is required to spend 20 percent, or about $1.6 million, to address student academic impact. learning loss due to COVID through measures such as after-school programs and summer schools.

As Thomas pointed out, unlike much of the country, schools in Wyoming were open to in-person learning for the 2020-21 school year and the district already has strong after-school and summer programs. However, the plan is to bolster these programs, providing additional opportunities as needed for students most at risk and impacted by COVID learning loss, which Thomas says includes some students who have not returned. in class in person and opted for distance instead. learning and who may have had academic difficulties afterwards.

The district also elected to use a significant portion of the funding to provide retention stabilization payments to staff, spread over one year, to encourage staff to remain employed by the district during a period of hardship. hiring in all sectors. According to Thomas, staff recruitment and retention was the number one zonal survey respondent who said the district should target spending, by a wide margin.

Other areas that received broad support for spending included student and staff mental health needs, addressing student needs and student learning loss, and educational technology. Thomas said the spending plan submitted to the Wyoming Department of Education, as required by law, includes all of these areas.

Specifically, the plan includes $750,000 for technology priorities, $250,000 for professional development for educators, $500,000 for student support at all levels, and approximately $3.8 million for “strategies to address workforce challenges. Funds must be spent within three years.

The council also addressed the recent dispute between local physiotherapist Mike Jacketta and District Activities Director Bubba O’Neill and district administrators. This dispute involved the District’s ongoing search for an athletic trainer, Jacketta’s longtime service to the District, Jacketta’s claims of perceived inadequacy of the District’s concussion policy, and a controversial phone call. between Jacketta and O’Neill in early December. This phone call was followed by an email from O’Neill to district coaches claiming that Jacketta had improperly instructed staff not to use Jacketta’s company, Wyoming Specialized Physical Therapy. O’Neill claimed, however, that Jacketta requested that staff stop calling her about student injuries and said the email was sent to comply with Jacketta’s wishes.

Board Chair Cassie Torres read a statement from the Board, which read: “The Board appreciates the hard work, dedication, passion and effective leadership of Mr. Thomas, Mr. O’Neill and all staff. district to ensure student safety. The board supports and will continue to support the ongoing efforts of Mr. Thomas, Mr. O’Neill and the district to improve student safety, reduce the risk of head injury during activities and, where possible, s Ensure students receive appropriate treatment when head injuries occur.

The statement continued, “Wyoming Specialty Physical Therapy has provided competent and effective injury assessment, rehabilitative care, and treatment to many student and student-athletes for a variety of injuries and other ailments over the past few years. . The board is grateful to Wyoming Specialized Physical Therapy for the services provided to students and student-athletes.

“In light of recent information that has come to the Board’s attention, the Board would like to clarify that no District employee or representative is in any way restricted from referring a student or student athlete to physiotherapy. Wyoming Specialist or other qualified professional. medical care provider for appropriate medical services. It is essential to the safety, health, and well-being of students that the district and Evanston medical providers collaborate and cooperate to provide the best possible medical care to students and student-athletes. The board hopes the district and all medical providers can work together in a positive and respectful way to improve student safety, reduce the risk of head injury during activities and, where possible, ensure students receive treatment. appropriate for head trauma.

In other cases, trustees heard presentations from district food services and transportation. Board member Joel Wiedrich praised food service staff for the “phenomenal” job they’ve done in providing meals to students throughout the pandemic. In fact, according to the Food Service Annual Report, the District Food Service served approximately 235,000 breakfasts and approximately 435,000 lunches during the 2020-21 school year.

The transportation department has also played a leading role throughout the pandemic, not only delivering thousands of meals during the summer months when school was not in session, but also helping with six drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinics held at the bus barn, through which approximately 4,500 shots were administered. Catering and transportation managed to maintain a high level of service throughout the pandemic, including during periods of staff illness.

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