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Osakis School Board accepts bid packages for tennis courts

The action was taken at the board's regular meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 16.

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OSAKIS — The Osakis School Board accepted three bid packages related to a base bid for its tennis court expansion project.

The action was taken at the board's regular meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 16.

The bid packages were outlined in a bid recap document presented by R.A. Morton & Associates and entail the following:

  • $142,518.99 to add a west tennis court and sidewalk to the north side of the proposed tennis court.
  • $142,518.99 to add an east tennis court and sidewalk to the north side of the proposed tennis court.
  • $23,103 to install a concrete sidewalk and retaining wall to the west side of the existing tennis courts.

Superintendent Randy Bergquist said resurfacing and soil work will be looked at after the spring thaw, and that the district is going to look into getting a grant toward doing that work.
Five tennis courts will be added to the three the district already has, Bergquist said.

EmpowerU

Approximately half of the students in grades seven and eight are participating in a pilot social-emotional learning curriculum called EmpowerU.

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Osakis High School Principal Brad Hoffarth said EmpowerU is a self-paced online program that is "basically trying to combat a lot of the challenges, mental health stuff that we're encountering. …

"It reminds me of a journal to a certain degree, where they can put their thoughts out there, and there is a live professional on the other end that's communicating with them. In some cases, that's huge, because we've seen students that have obviously mental health needs, and we're not there for them 24 hours a day," Hoffarth said.

Bergquist said the program is fully funded by a grant, and is a "great opportunity" for the district.

"I think the mental health of our students has suffered the last couple of years, and I think that's a component that we need to make sure that we focus on for our students," he said.

Hoffarth said if the program goes well for the remainder of the year, the district will look at seeing what can be done to continue it, and ultimately expand it beyond grades seven and eight.

School Board Recognition Week

Feb. 21-25 is School Board Recognition Week, and Bergquist discussed it while thanking the members of the Osakis School Board for their service.

"It's been some very tough times for school boards, especially," Bergquist said. "There's been a number of school board members across Minnesota that have resigned, and I do appreciate the school board members here in Osakis sticking through with our district and going forward. I know it's kind of a thankless job many times, but it is recognition week next week, and I just want to say thank you for the time and the energy and the things that you do to … keep things going forward."

Acceptance of gifts

The school board also accepted financial gifts from the following organizations and individuals: Greater Alexandria Area AOR, Inc., Bremer Bank, Hendrick's Insurance, Osakis True Value, Gary Mikkelson, Bell Bank, the Glenn Sorenson Trust, in honor of Sharon Fearing, Guns Galore, the Osakis VFW, Ag Country Farm Credit Services and the NFPA Education and Technology Foundation.

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The gifts went toward such purposes as the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, scholarships, and Close Up, among others.

Travis Gulbrandson covers several beats, including Osakis School Board and Osakis City Council, along with the Brandon-Evansville School Board. His focus will also be on crime and court news.
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