School garage skirts its demise for now

By Emily Bialkowski

Caledonia Argus


A garage behind Caledonia Elementary School garnered significant discussion at the April 15 school board meeting. The building is not being used, and the district considered leasing the space, but the structure also needs a new roof, which is something a lease would force the district into buying.

Superintendent Ben Barton said the building and grounds committee considered selling the garage and the land it sits on, but preferred to keep the land should traffic flow changes be made at the school.

In that light, the committee recommended the board have someone bid on removing the garage. “We don’t use it and, at this point, we do not have a need for it,” Barton said.

The recommendation received mixed reviews.

Board member Kelley McGraw said he has already been approached by a person wanting to lease the space and another wanting to buy the garage and land.

Board member Jean Meyer said  she and the committee preferred to keep the land in hopes of someday improving the drop-off and pick-up situation.

The two went back and forth a bit, after which Barton said, “We can take our time. We don’t have to decide now, but this was the recommendation of the committee to move it forward.”

Board member Spencer Yohe said he’d like to have more information and a tour of the garage before making his decision.

The board agreed to table the item.



Barton had some good news to share with the board relating back to a one-day bond sale approved during the 2011-12 school year.

“When I first came here back in July there was some miscommunication in terms of that one-day bond,” Barton said.

The school at that time spent $314,000 but held off on $145,000 believing they had missed a deadline.

“Since then we have been able to recoup the full amount, and we have $145,000 remaining for capital expenditures. That is money we have available to us right now,” Barton said.

This money is entirely separate from the $495,000 one-day bond approved this school year during the November general election.

Barton had a list of recommended purchases, which included:

• $14,000 John Deere zero-turn, diesel mower

• $25,000 to reconfigure both building entry ways for better security

• $22,000 – half the cost of security cameras for the middle school/high school

• $75,000 in technology purchases

“These are pretty substantial projects that will enhance our school district,” Barton said.

The recommendation was approved in its entirety.


Warrior pride

As is tradition at each school board meeting, several groups and individuals were extended a thank you for helping make the Caledonia School District  something to be proud of.

A thank you was extended to Amy Wild for her strong leadership in leading the technology task force to implement one-to-one computing

A thank you was extended to Merchant’s Bank for their generous donations to the elementary and middle/high school media centers.

A thank you was extended to ISD #299 Foundation for their generous donations.

Congratulations was extended to the following students for making it to the state round of the writing essay sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress:  Hannah Cuda, Colton Lampert, Tristin Ott and Collin Reinhart.

And finally, congratulations were extended to Tristin Ott for receiving second place in the state round of the writing essay sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.



• The board approved an FFA trip set for April 28 through April 30.

• In the administrative report section of the meeting Barton briefly mentioned being in touch with Spring Grove to discuss athletic co-ops, though he offered no further details on the matter other than to say the conversation started.