8/12/2022 10:37:00 AM Chisago Lakes names new middle school principal and Comm Ed director
by JEFF NORTON
At their monthly July meeting, the Chisago Lakes School board named a new middle school principal and Community Education director.
In the community education role, the district hired Daniel McGonigle, who spent the last year as the Community Education Director at Detroit Lakes. For their middle school principal position, which had been re-opened after their last hire had a change of heart, the district selected Todd Warzecha, who has been in education for over 20 years and most recently was the Dean of Students in the Watertown-Mayer School District.
The two new employees finished the admin team hirings after the new high school and primary school principals were named in June.
The board came across a new challenge in their Primary School construction project.
A state inspector was taking a look at some new mechanicals running through an old area of the school and decided that massive steel beams running through an area of the building didn’t quite meet the code. The 20 foot by 20 inch thick beams need to be able to handle 150 percent of their weight load, and these beams hold 140 percent and the inspector felt that it was too close, so they need to be replaced.
“Those beams have been in there for 60 years and there is no evidence of fatigue or failure. But this state building inspector feels that under his jurisdiction, they need to be beefed up,” board chair Mark Leigh said. “The problem is there is so much mechanical work in there and it will be a tremendous amount of labor. We are looking at options and we’ve tried all sorts of ways to get this inspected or changed but that hasn’t worked.” The cost to take down mechanicals, replace beams and put everything back up will be around $100,000.
Leigh seemed frustrated by the inspector. “We’re not adding any weight to these beams. It’s just a question of interpretation,” he said. “When you’re working with building inspectors, there’s the common sense approach and the not common sense approach and in this case, it doesn’t sound like they are using the common sense approach. We really don’t have many options besides to meet their standards.”
Superintendent Dean Jennissen did emphasize the primary school project is still on track to be completed in time and that this project does not need to be completed before school starts.
The contingency fund for this particular project is already at zero, but the funding will come from from other contingencies left from construction projects and funds left from the sale of the Lakeside property.
Board member Jeff Lindeman wasn’t thrilled that this wasn’t caught by the architects as they were designing the mechanicals to go through the new space. “My concern is that it’s a new area that mechanicals have to come out of. Seems to me that the architects maybe should’ve done some work with that prior to having to take out brand new mechanicals and go backwards on this project,” he said. “It maybe should’ve been caught in some design phase.”
Jennissen, however, stated the overall structural drawings were approved at one desk at the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. “Then this inspector said we’re going to have you meet these requirements even if your load isn’t at the treshhold,” he said.
“Moving forward, I think we need to make sure we are aware and work through things the best way possible. I’m good moving forward,” Lindeman said.
The board unanimously approved moving forward with the project.