Rene Green with the EHS Band Boosters requested the board consider buying new marching band uniforms for next school year during Monday’s Unit 40 school board meeting. Dawn Schabbing photo

EFFINGHAM — With students headed back to the classrooms on Aug. 27, Effingham Unit 40 school board this week heard how construction is going on several buildings in the district.

At the end of last school year, the district adjusted the starting date on the school calendar to accommodate several projects and a major overhaul of the Effingham Junior High School. The later start date was to help contractors get their work done before school session begins.

On Monday, Effingham Unit 40 Assistant Superintendent Jason Fox gave a report on each building that is having some work done on it this summer using Health-Life Safety funds at South Side, Early Learning Center and the junior high phase 1 work.

South Side has come a long way this summer, he said. Two-thirds of the building now has a new roof. There are all new lights in the building, new ceiling tiles, new carpet in classrooms and hallway floors were given a fresh coat of paint. There will be a long-term solution for the hallways decided in the future.

“This is a short-term solution on the hallway floors,” said Fox. “We know it won’t hold up long term, however, it is better than what was down, especially after you see all the other work that was done.”

At ELC, the 40-year-old building had only 1 inch of insulation in the roof. Now it has more than 5 inches. The building also gained a new roof this summer. Ductwork was wrapped to help with the moisture issues and to increase efficiency. Inside workers have replaced the ceiling tiles and lights.

At the junior high, Fox said Phase 1 is nearing completion, although they are a couple days behind schedule.

“The first floor of the 1939 building has had a major overhaul,” said Fox. “They are working there through the day on Saturday. Custodians are still moving things back into the classrooms. They are also cleaning furniture and equipment and moving things back into classrooms, while the construction crew was still hanging ceiling tiles and hanging lights.”

In the office complex, it will be a more secure setting, at the entrance.

“The custodial staff, maintenance staff, tech crews, have been unbelievable as the summer has rolled along,” said Fox. “They’ve been phenomenal and flexible getting things done as they can. It’s been a long summer for them and it is not over.”

In another matter, there was a request made for new band uniforms at EHS. Rene Green, band booster member and teacher in the district, and Trent Mason, high school band director, asked the board to consider purchasing new band uniforms.

Green told the board she’s been helping care for the uniforms, including cleaning them and making needed alterations to fit students year after year for several years. The high school band would need about 125 uniform sets. The junior high band also has about the same number.

“The best solution I feel at this time is to start with a new set,” said Green. “We are only able to clean them about once a year, because of the amount of kids we have. They look pretty bad.”

The high school uniforms are showing wear and tear, stains and have been altered numerous times, Green said.

Mason added that these uniforms have been used by students since 2007. The director said this will be the 13th year for the band uniforms. They hope to have new uniforms for the 2020 fall marching season.

Mason estimated the range of costs for a single band uniform might run between $450 to $625 each. One uniform company representative told him they can get a completely designed uniform to examine and approve.

The board directed the boosters to work with different uniform supply companies and EHS Principal Kurt Roberts and come back to the board with material samples, cost estimates and a mock-up uniform to examine. In the past the board has agreed to pay for the entire lot of band uniforms. No action was taken at Monday’s meeting.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a fundraiser for EHS Band in November and December to sell butter braids and kettle corn for a spring trip to Chicago.
  • Employed several people: Lisa Orsborn, a two-hour cashier at EHS; Carol West, a three-hour cook at EJHS; Jessica Mathis, paraprofessional; and Lowell Fehrenbacher, a two-hour bus driver. They also accepted the resignation of Abra Woomer, a South Side Elementary teacher.
  • Accepted leaves of absences from Greg Lankford, Cathy White, Wendy Guenther, Jason Warner.
  • Appointed Curran McNeely as the EHS head varsity baseball coach. Appointed volunteer coaches as follows: Mark Burgess, EHS girls golf; Janelle Schuette, EHS football cheer; and Christin Hartke, EJHS, junior high cross-country.

Dawn Schabbing can be reached at dawn.schabbing@effinghamdailynews.com or 217-347-7151, ext 138.

Dawn Schabbing can be reached at dawn.schabbing@effinghamdailynews.com or 217-347-7151, ext 138.


Dawn Schabbing is a senior reporter at the Effingham Daily News, covering Effingham City Hall, Unit 40, and special projects. A graduate of Lake Land College and Eastern Illinois University with degrees in journalism, she lives in Neoga.

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