At this weeks Yellow Medicine County Board meeting the board began by going over the commissioners reports. The board discussed a personnel committee meeting, Countryside Public Health, the 2020 budget, historical society meeting, and the upcoming Highway 23 project.

Family Services Director Rae Ann Keeler-Aus provided an update. Keeler-Aus discussed going through the procurement process results and complimented the staff members for their hard work and long hours. Keeler-Aus recommended PrimeWest Health and the board approved the resolution. Keeler-Aus discussed three purchase of service contracts with each of the school districts in the county. The contracts would ensure that foster children moved out of their school district could continue to attend their regular school. The board approved the contracts and Keeler-Aus finished her update by discussing out of home placement statistics.

IT Coordinator Denny Pederson gave an IT Department update. Pederson discussed the new technology that was installed in the county boardroom which includes two new TVs and an improved phone conference system. Similar conference improvements were made in the county training room. Pederson provided an overview of the work the IT Department does, and added that the IT Department works with every other department in the county on some level. Pederson discussed 2019 projects and highlighted the upcoming website redesign work. Pederson finished his update by requesting increased hours for an IT tech position from 19 to 37.5 hours. The board approved his request and made the tech position full time.

The board discussed the Clarkfield School demolition project. The asbestos removal costs required for the project might be substantially lower than previously thought after tests that were conducted lead to conflicting results. A room that had tested positive for asbestos was located in the older section of the school building, and a room tested in the newer section of the building came back negative for asbestos. IEA, Inc. who is providing the asbestos removal services was unaware that there was a split point in the building of old and new construction. IEA had assumed that after testing a room in a similar condition to the rest of the building there was a similar amount of asbestos present throughout the site, but that might not be the case.

“Not to give false hope to anybody but there is a potential for savings here, so we have to redo that test and reclassify it.” Commissioner Gary Johnson said. Johnson also expressed the need for this project to be done sooner rather than later, “I was told the roof is leaking so bad that some of the roof is collapsing and falling in… if we don’t take it down this time and wait a couple of years and the roof falls in it’s gonna be intermingled with the asbestos debris and we are gonna have to haul it to a certified asbestos landfill... the costs for that will be substantially more.”

Johnson is hoping that when new tests are conducted the areas that had been assumed to contain asbestos are asbestos free. If a large section of the building is asbestos free it would significantly lower the costs for the project. It is likely the additional testing and other work finishing the asbestos removal project with IEA will cost $40,000 to $45,000 but an official contract will be presented at the July 9th meeting.

There was discussion about what would happen with the Gym building and remaining structures after the demolition. It is likely the property will be turned over to the City of Clarkfield and the city can determine what they want to do with the property from that point forward. Any repair costs for the roof and walls of the structure would be the city’s responsibility. The project was also given a forty five day bid acceptance extension which will allow for additional testing and details of the project to be worked out.

The board approved a motion by Johnson to demolish the building, but to exclude the gym area of the structure and turn the property over to the City of Clarkfield, “Let’s get it done. Once the building is demolished turn the gym section over to the city and be done with it. It’s up to the city to decide what they want to do with it from there.” Johnson added.