It’s been a busy school year for the Ballard Board of Education, one that has shown the fruits of its labors in the day-to-day visual progress of the Ballard Middle School renovation project.


During its monthly meeting in May, a progress report was given by Jamie Rochleau, project manager for Story Construction. Demolition is nearly complete on the locker room area, as well as the teachers’ lounge and administration area. Demolition work on the gymnasium is progressing nicely and work will be starting soon on the cafeteria and kitchen. Underground plumbing and concrete work is nearly complete in the locker room, and foundations for walls in the new entry on the east side of the building have also been poured.


“I would expect to see a lot of activity in the next three or four weeks,” said Rochleau. “We’ll be getting the slab placed, and then we’ll start going vertical with walls. Structural steel is scheduled to arrive around the middle of June and you’ll start to see columns and beams. It will start to resemble a building around the end of June.”


Superintendent Maxey gave an update on furniture for the project as well. Final decisions have been made for the main offices and will be sent out to bid soon. The cafeteria will have a college food court-type of feel, with multi-level seating and tables. Outdoor seating will be bolted, metal-coated, perforated seating with a variety of seating styles with a capacity of around 40 students. For the classroom furniture, a team of teachers met with administration and plans to have a variety of workstations, desk shapes and flexible, movable furniture. In the collaboration spaces, there will be varied seating to allow for different learners’ needs. Design decisions are being made soon on the gymnasium floor and wall pads for graphics.


Subsequent meetings are being scheduled for branding ideas throughout the cafeteria and corridors. Maxey also plans some visits to local stadiums for design ideas for the press box and concession areas for the stadium portion of the renovation.


School Board Appreciation Month


The month of May was designated as School Board Recognition Month by the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB).


Each school district in Iowa has either a five- or seven-member school board that is elected to serve a four-year term. They are non-salaried positions.


“The board of education is a uniquely American institution, dating from the earliest days of our country,” says the IASB. “It has made public schools flexible and responsive to local community needs. Today, public schools are being asked to raise the bar of academic achievement, while remaining good stewards of the public’s investment in education. That demands sound knowledge in several key areas, including leadership, school improvement, school finance, advocacy and more, while keeping student achievement as the board’s primary focus. Iowa school board members represent a continuing commitment to local citizen decision making in public education. Each month, they donate their personal time in service to Iowa students.”


A framed certificate was given to each of the five members of the Ballard board of education in recognition of their service to the Ballard community. Pictured left to right are Steve Domino (president), Brandee Gatchel, Jean Saveraid (vice president), Darin Wohlgemuth and Kirk Peterson.


“I’d just like to take the opportunity to thank you for the great service you provide. It’s a pleasure to work with you all and I know I speak on behalf of the administrative team when I say that.”


–Superintendent Maxey