Elementary, high school both complete air quality project

By Chad Koenen


If you didn’t break a sweat walking through the doors at New York Mills School this fall, there is a good reason for that, and it has nothing to do with the temperature outside. After two years of construction projects at NY Mills School, the air quality project at the school is in its final stages.

During its regularly scheduled meeting last week, the NY Mills School Board heard an update about the last stages of the high school portion of the air quality project. While the elementary wing of the building was completed during the summer of 2020, the high school wing just wrapped up in the past few weeks. Construction crews finished up the gym area and several punch list items after the start of school, 

“By the end of (last) week, all of the controls will be installed,” said Nathan Norton of ICS. “Then after that, there is just some punch list items (left).”

Norton had been a staple at school board meetings over the past few years as he updated the public about the progress of the project. He credited the work of the school maintenance staff for helping to save the district around $100,000 by taking on the final cleaning, which also allowed construction crews to finish the project in a way to allow the district to start school on time this fall.

“It was a big job, but your staff did a great job cleaning the place and in short order,” he said.

The school board members said they appreciated the hard work of ICS as they shifted plans a bit, in order to complete the project in a way to allow students to start school on time. 

“I was very appreciative we were able to get in here and start school on time. That was really important and I am really glad we didn’t have to scramble (and start school late).”

NYM school board member Kristina Ehnert

NY Mills athletic director Matt Radniecki also thanked a number of students who chipped in after the start of school and helped to clean and get the gym ready for the first volleyball game in September.

In other news

• Heard a concern from a parent concerning bigger class sizes in grades like kindergarten. The parent encouraged the school board to look at ways to decreasing class sizes for the youngest students at NY Mills School.

• Heard an update from elementary principal Judith Brockway concerning a workforce shortage that is also affecting NY Mills School. She said the district needs five additional paraprofessionals at the elementary level and another one at the high school level. 

• Heard about a matrix being developed by a number of Highway 10 and Otter Tail County School Districts to help determine what restrictions, if any, should be put in place in the event of a rise in COVID-19 numbers in the school. The matrix would provide certain benchmarks that would be met to move from one plan in the matrix to another. 

• Accepted the following donations: $2,000 from Womenade; $2,100 from First Congregational United Church of Christ, Lamson Family Trust and $1,469 from Arvig as part of the Support Your School program.

• Approved the following appointments: Alicia Page as concessions manager and Adriana Castillo as custodian.

• Approved the following resignations: Jason Boe as head boys basketball coach and Josh Hendrickx as assistant boys basketball coach.