Columbus Public Schools has reached an agreement with organizers of the Columbus Ice project on building upkeep and usage.
The district’s Board of Education unanimously agreed to a plan that would allow organizers to submit plans on construction of the rink and the adjacent warming shelter to the City of Columbus and to CPS. The agreement allows for the organizers to pay all construction costs and to maintain the facility, including the construction of storm drains connected to the retention pond outside Columbus High School.
CPS’s obligations are to keep the grounds around the rink in good condition, while also allowing drainage construction and shelter construction to go forth without any interference.
CPS Superintendent Troy Loeffelholz said that if anything were to happen to interfere with the operation of the property, it would be on them.
“Since they’re not really an official organization (and) we own the building and the drainage, if anything happens, it’s on us,” Loeffelholz said. “We won’t go back to the Blasers and to 4-H and to the Nebraska Extension and say, ‘By the way, you owe us $20,000 for cleanup.’ My guess is that the cleanup has to do with us and the neighbors around us.”
The main reason for the agreement was to provide for a safe and legal environment for the project to get off the ground. Loeffelholz and the board want to make sure that organizers are following code to the fullest.
“This is just to make sure that they’re doing everything by code as they build the structure,” Loeffelholz said. “It’s not up to Columbus Public Schools to find the workers for it (and) clean up after it. We’ll provide some supplies for cleanup and some paper products, but they are to schedule all the workers and clean up after they’re done.”
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The idea for the project came from Columbus teen Elizabeth Blaser, who has presented on and participated in fundraisers for the project since it began as a 4-H Diamond Clover Level 6 project in winter 2015.
In other CPS school board happenings:
- Officials at Columbus High School released the results of a joint survey among students and teachers. The survey was designed to examine whether the school had been meeting student goals and teacher expectations. CHS Principal Dave Hiebner said that the school was committed to providing opportunities for their students, including expanding class selections to better serve students’ interests when they leave school.
“At the end of the day, these are opportunities for Columbus High School students,” Hiebner said. “It’s a chance to be responsive to staff, students and the community and make Columbus High School the best it can be ... This is a path that is a little bit painstaking to figure out what exactly we need (and) what that staff will look like, but also, I know that it’s in the best interests of our kids and that’s what excites me about it.”
- The district approved a memorandum of understanding with the Columbus Police Department regarding a school resource officer in the schools. The officer will provide security services and law enforcement for the district. Both the city and the district will be responsible for the costs of the service, with the district providing 25 percent of the cost.
- The district made no changes to bullying prevention language. Students are currently being taught bullying prevention from first-12th grades.
Zach Roth is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com.