School district HQ could get makeover

Officials aim to centralize staff
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Shawano School District officials are considering remodeling the district’s central offices to accommodate more of the school system’s administrative operations.

The project is the district’s latest response to a management consultant’s recommendations for improving administration of Shawano’s public schools.

Tentative plans for the remodeling involve reconfiguring the central offices and adjoining board room to create more office space for district administrators in facilities housed within Shawano Community High School, 220 County Road B, Shawano.

Jeff Easter, the district’s building and grounds director, said officials plan to spend $95,000 on the project and hope to have the work completed this summer.

Although details have not been announced for utilizing the reconfigured office space, Easter said the remodeling is intended to accommodate additional district leadership staff.

Consultants with the firm Springsted Inc. last year recommended centralizing administrative staff as part of an effort to improve school district management. The firm interviewed staff and made comparisons with other school districts to identify new approaches for the Shawano district.

Among administrative staff housed elsewhere in the district, the director of pupil services is based at Shawano Community Middle School and the director of building and grounds is based at Olga Brener Intermediate School.

In finding that the district’s current administrative office space was insufficient, the consultants wrote: “It is our recommendation that district-level functions be located in the same office area to maximize communication, coordination and efficiency.”

In response to other recommendations in the management study, school administrators have previously hired a human resources director for the district and created new positions for a dean of students at Hillcrest Primary School and at Olga Brener Intermediate School.

Springsted found that Shawano schools had too much administrative staff at the high school level and not enough at other schools. The report also concluded that administrative staff was too decentralized, that most administrators were underpaid and that many management staffers were unsure of job duties.

The remodeling of district facilities to allow for centralizing staff has been overseen by the school board building and grounds committee.

District records show that the committee members in January learned that the project could cost as much as $110,000 — a figure that was later reduced to the current estimate of $95,000. At the time, plans included converting about half of the district’s existing board room into offices and maintaining the other half for a conference room.

The board room is where Shawano School Board meetings are held, with members of the public invited to observe.

Plans also call for creating additional office space in the current district administrative facilities, which already house the superintendent, business manager and human resources director. Work also would include a new reception area and other improvements.

Easter said he hopes to have architectural renderings available soon for approval, after which he would seek out proposals from construction contractors.

“The goal of this project is to create, within the existing walls of the district office and board room, more office space that can be used by district leadership staff that currently is not housed within the district office space,” he stated in an email. “Other objectives are to create a more defined reception area and to provide better security for those in the building.”

FYI

The Shawano School Board meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the district’s central office, 220 County Road B, Shawano, to consider a proposal to hire a school district photographer.

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