Schools OK building contracts

Wichita school board members approved construction contracts Monday for the new Spaght Traditional Magnet Elementary School and an addition to Woodman Elementary School.

Both projects are part of the $370 million bond issue voters approved in 2008.

The board approved a $6.9 million contract with Conco Construction of Wichita to build the 60,000-square-foot Spaght. The old school will be demolished after the new one is complete, which is expected in summer 2012.

The new school at 2316 E. 10th St. will be two stories high and have a separate cafeteria and multipurpose room, which will also be a FEMA storm shelter.

The original bond plan included renovating Spaght, but bond consultants said that with up to $2.7 million in capital money, a new school could be built. With Conco, the lowest bidder of 11, the district plans to spend $929,000 in capital money.

The board also approved a $594,000 contract with Hahner, Foreman and Harness of Wichita for the Woodman addition, which will include a new cafeteria so the multipurpose room won't have to serve as a lunch area. The project is set to be complete in summer 2011.

Also new next year, students at North and East high schools who qualify for free or reduced-priced meals will be able to buy their meals out of vending machines using a swipe card. The board approved more than $100,000 to buy 10 vending machines capable of tracking a student's account.

The vending machine swipe cards are needed because of limited access to cafeterias and lunch lines, according to district records.

In other matters, the board unanimously elected vice president Connie Dietz as president for the 2010-11 school year. It will be her fourth term as president.

Member Betty Arnold, who is running for Sedgwick County Commission, was unanimously elected vice president.

The board also extended superintendent John Allison's contract by one year.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed working with John this year," said Barbara Fuller, the outgoing board president. "It was an experience. He is very dedicated to kids of Wichita and this community."

Allison started in July 2009 with a three-year contract at a salary of $225,000 a year. The contract's end date will change from June 30, 2012, to June 30, 2013. His salary will not change.