The North Winneshiek School Board has hired Martin Gardner Architecture of Marion for $11,956 to evaluate the North Winneshiek school facility.
The architect will provide information regarding the current state of the facilities and prioritize any future upgrades that may be necessary.
“The architect will be doing a full evaluation of the building to tell us the lifespan of the roof and lifespan of the mechanicals, and anything really pressing as far as upgrades and how much they might cost,” North Winneshiek Superintendent/Principal Tim Dugger told Decorah Newspapers after the Board’s meeting last week.
“It’s a way for our Board to have concrete data in regard to the facility itself and whatever may happen down the road.”
Following a feasibility study by the Iowa Department of Education, North Winneshiek was informed by Department officials last year that due to declining enrollment and stagnant state/federal revenues, the District would not be able to maintain its pre-K through eighth grade school beyond the year 2017.
Last fall, the Board met with the Decorah School Board to discuss possibilities for dealing with the situation. Options for the District include increasing whole-grade sharing, consolidating or dissolving. It takes two to three years to plan for consolidation.
Those three options remain on the table, according to Dugger. While there have been numerous conversations about the District’s future, the superintendent said his Board isn’t leaning in any particular direction.
“There are so many unknowns,” Dugger said. “No one really knows what’s going to happen with those facilities.”
He said he expects the Board to make a decision on what direction to take within the next 12 months.

Abuse investigations
In other school business last week, the Board was informed the Iowa Department of Education has established a two-step procedure for investigating allegations of physical or sexual abuse of students by employees. The procedure requires the school district to designate an independent investigator to look into the allegations.
The Board designated Dugger as its Level I investigator, Kris Bigler as its alternate Level I investigator and the Winneshiek County Sheriff’s Department is the designated Level II investigator.

In other matters, the Board approved the resignation of Melissa Wicklund and thanked her for 10 years of service to North Winneshiek.
The Board also approved a technology service agreement with Keystone AEA to handle the District’s technology needs for the 2014-2015 school year.
Employers Mutual Insurance Company was approved as the District’s property and casualty insurance carrier for the 2014-2015 school year.
In other matters, the Board approved the following bids for the 2014-2015 school year:
• Milk: Kemps c/o Martin Brothers, Cedar Falls
• Bread: Bimbo Bakery, LaCrosse, Wis.
• LP Gas: AgVantage, Waverly
• Gasoline: Hovden Oil, Ridgeway
• Diesel: Hovey Oil, Harmony, Minn.
• Heating Fuel: Hovey Oil, Harmony, Minn.