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Sterling High cafeteria in line for remodel

STERLING – The Sterling High cafeteria is getting a makeover.

The school board Wednesday accepted a bid for $232,850 from Larson & Larson of Loves Park to remodel the lunchroom.

The project, originally budgeted at $379,000, will expand the existing cafeteria and allow the high school to move from three lunch periods to two. It also will add a new service line at an additional cost of $8,500.

The reduction from three to two lunch periods will allow more time for interventions and other educational needs.

The project also includes some asbestos removal at a cost of about $32,000, which is not a part of the accepted bid, as well as some new equipment installation.

The district will pay for the project using existing Health/Life Safety funds and private donor money.

Finance Director Tim Schwingle said already-bonded Health/Life Safety funds will cover about two-thirds of the project, while donor money will cover the remaining one-third. He said even with the asbestos removal and new equipment installation, the district will not have to use any new funds.

Tim Propheter of Rock Falls, formerly of Sterling, questioned the board before it discussed the cafeteria project about incurring new debt after Whiteside County voters, for the third time, rejected a proposed 1 percent sales tax to fund school facilities.

“It’s pretty clear the people are not interested in raising the sales tax to pay for additions, new facilities, or what have you,” Propheter said. “I hope the posture of this board is not to keep spending money and have that brought up all over again a year from now … .”

The project is set to get underway May 28 and should be complete by the time school starts; if it is not complete by then, the district has a contingency plan, including renting a tent under which students could eat in the courtyard.

Also on Wednesday, the board elected new officers. They are Jim Brotheridge, president; Bob Allen, vice president; Gail Dancey, secretary; Marc Geil, assistant secretary; and Terry McGuire, treasurer.

And a new Advanced Placement economics course for sophomores, juniors and seniors was OK’d. The course is intended to be a rigorous, introductory, college-level economics course, including semesters of microeconomics and macroeconomics. Students will not have an accompanying textbook.

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