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Morris High School to purchase new lift systems

Installation will begin at end of school year

Steve Lutz, buildings and grounds director for Morris Community High School, demonstrates how one of the current chair lifts works at the school. The district will install new lift systems at the end of the school year.
Steve Lutz, buildings and grounds director for Morris Community High School, demonstrates how one of the current chair lifts works at the school. The district will install new lift systems at the end of the school year.

Morris Community High School will start the installation of new lift systems at the end of the school year.

The District 101 school board last week unanimously approved purchasing three new lifts for the school, at a total cost of $91,717, Superintendent Dr. Pat Halloran said on Monday. Originally the district was going to construct an elevator, but the bids for the project came in too high and the board rejected them in March.

When bids came in more than double the expected price for the elevator project, the district decided to take another look at its options. The elevator project was expected to cost about $334,000. Bids ranged from $653,754 to $803,000.

When an elevator was first proposed, it was because it could handle more weight than the lift systems. The lift companies are now able to accommodate a higher weight capacity. Garaventa USA Inc., which is the company that put in the school's current lifts, will be installing the new lifts, Halloran said.

The installation of the new lifts will start in June and is expected to take about a week. It takes six to seven weeks to manufacture the lifts. The lifts have a 660-pound capacity.

The school has one particular student who uses a wheelchair that exceeds the weight limit of its current lifts. The weight of his chair alone is 400 pounds, in addition to his weight of about 120, so the system has to be able to move at least 520 pounds.

"It should be up and ready to go for the start of the 2012-2013 school year," Halloran said.

For the lift project, the district will get about $32,500 back from the state's school maintenance grant for which it applied. The district is getting a total of $50,000 from the grant. The remaining dollars will go toward other projects. About $10,000 will go for automated dividers in the field house and about $7,500 for a new cafeteria sound system.

The other two projects will also be done this summer, said Halloran.


In other district news the board approved naming the Community Foundation of Grundy County as the depository of the district's scholarship money.

The district has six scholarships that have been left in the trust of the school: the Fred W. Anderson scholarship, Espi Siron scholarship, Robert Ciota scholarship, Roger Gordon scholarship, Mark McTague scholarship and the Eugene L. Funk scholarship. All the scholarships go toward students' college costs.

Nothing will change with the process of applying or selecting the recipients, said Halloran. Depending on the scholarship and the amount of applicants, recipients usually get $500 or $1,000 scholarships.

Using the foundation allows money to be pooled for investment and it can better advertise the scholarships to the community as a fund to which to donate, said Halloran. It also designates the scholarships as endowment funds.

The district has about $50,000 in donations to the Dollars for Scholars program in the early 1990s, said Halloran. That money is being divided among the six scholarships.


Personnel action was also made at the meeting. Cindy Shannon, current Math Department chair, was approved to be the part-time Dean of Curriculum and Assessment, as well as continuing as a teacher part-time.

The position replaces the curriculum coordinator that Morris High, Morris Elementary School District #54 and Saratoga School District #60C previously shared. The coordinator resigned the position to take another job.

Shannon will just work for the high school, but will help with curriculum between the feeder schools and the high school.

In addition, Judith Jones was approved as a science teacher for the next school year and Eva Schutter as an ESL teacher. Jones will replace Rob Wallon, who is resigning at the end of this year. Schutter is replacing Bob Carlson who is retiring.

The board also approved the retirement of Todd Crose, driver's education teacher, one year earlier than originally expected.

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