The Lexington School Board approved a quote from Boiler Chiller Systems for an $85,880 upgrade to the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system at Lexington Middle School during their meeting Monday night.
Bo Berry, director of buildings, grounds and transportation for the district, noted the Middle School HVAC controls have not worked properly since the system was installed and they have struggled to correct a multitude of computer-related problems.
Berry noted they researched firms who had repaired systems similar to Lexington’s and found Boiler Chiller Systems. “The company does work world-wide and is based in Omaha,” said Berry. “They will perform upgrades to the hardware and computer system, including a trouble shooting aspect. We will have a lot tighter control on how the system runs.”
School board president Mike Dowling added, “With these upgrades the system is projected to pay for itself in three years.”
Under other new business the board ratified the district’s donation of old band uniforms to the Cambridge School District earlier this summer.  Superintendent John Hakanson noted a contact was made with Cambridge through a former Lexington student now teaching there and donation of all 200 of the uniforms was accepted.
“That school was elated and we avoided the need to find a place to store them,” said Hakanson.
The board also approved the sale or disposal of three pieces of athletic rehabilitation equipment no longer needed by the district.
As required by state statute the district safety committee met Aug. 7 to review and update the 2018-19 building safety and security plan. The board approved the plan with the only major change being the addition of a process to reunify children with parents in the event of an evacuation.
Hakanson noted each building has a plan for what to do during a fire drill, tornado warning, bomb threat and active shooter situation. Each building has a safety team, crisis team and staff members certified or trained for CPR and use of an Epi Pen, nebulizer and defibrillator.
The board also approved an updated set of five-year goals for academics, professional development, district finances and facilities, as discussed at the recent board retreat.
The newest goal calls for exploring additional opportunities for students to practice and prepare for the ACT. The district also maintains a goal of achieving a 10 percent increase in the number of students proficient in math, science and language arts assessments among those who have attended LPS for two consecutive years.
Reports from administrators noted the 2018-19 school year was off to a good start. A lot of training sessions for new teachers were crammed into three days with more training ahead for the new reading program and at the middle school for working with the iPads.
Berry noted the new stadium lights are up and were expected to be operational on Wednesday. In addition, he reported the district had just received notification they would receive a $48,000 grant from the Department of Environmental Quality to help defray the cost of a new school bus.  Money for the grant came from fines the Volkswagen Company paid for their fraudulent exhaust systems.
Final preparations are being made for the 6th annual Livin' Out Loud event that will be held this weekend on August 18th and 19th. There will  thousands of music fans that will gather in a grassy field in Gothenburg for an outdoor concert unlike any other in Nebraska. 
Some of the biggest names in contemporary Christian music have taken the stage for the concert, and event organizers say that this year's line-up may be the best one yet!
Artists scheduled to appear at the 2018 concert include I Am They, Zach Williams, Colton Dixon, Britt Nicole and Matthew West. A community worship service at the site, featuring the music of I Am They, will round out the weekend on Sunday morning.
This outdoor concert is completely funded through private donations – there is no admission charge for attending. Fundraising for this year's event, as well as future events, is underway. These donations allow the event to remain free to the public, giving an opportunity to thousands of people to hear the truth of God's Word through music. Donations can be made on the event website: livinoutloud.org. Opportunities will also be presented the day of the concert.
A number of vendors will be on the concert site offering a variety of foods and beverages. No alcohol is allowed on the grounds; Livin' Out Loud is a family-friendly event. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets, and plan to spend the weekend being encouraged.
Zach Williams is arguably one of the hottest acts currently in contemporary Christian music. His debut album “Chain Breaker” earned him his first Grammy Award, and this year Williams was named Billboard's Top Christian Male Vocalist and Artist of the Year. His hits include the title track from his album, “Chain Breaker”, “Old Church Choir”, and his most recent single, “Fear Is A Liar”.
Fans of the television show American Idol may recognize Colton Dixon from season 11 of the show. In January 2013 Dixon released his album “A Messenger”, which sold 22,000 copies in its first week. It debuted at number 15 on the Billboard 200, number one on the U.S. Christian Chart and number one on the U.S. Gospel Chart. 
Britt Nicole was nominated for a Dove Award for Female Vocalist of the Year in 2011, and her album “Gold” was nominated for a Grammy in 2013 for Best Contemporary Christian Album. Her hits include “Set the World on Fire”, “You”, “Through Your Eyes”, and “Be the Change”.
Headlining the 2018 concert will be Mathew West. West is a four-time GRAMMY nominee, a multiple-ASCAP Christian Music Songwriter/Artist of the Year winner and Dove Award recipient, and was awarded an American Music Award (2013), a Billboard Music Award (Top Christian Artist, 2014), a K-LOVE Fan Award (2016), and named Billboard’s Hot Christian Songwriter of the Year (2016). His latest studio album, “Live Forever”, debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Christian Sales Chart. He has obtained numerous number 1 singles, most recently with “Grace Wins,” while achieving a record-setting number 1 for 17 straight weeks at radio with “Hello, My Name Is” and “The Motions” for 15 weeks. 
For more information on the 2018 concert in Gothenburg, or to donate to keep the event going, visit the website at livinoutloud.org, or like the Facebook page.
The Cozad Community Schools Board of Education met on Monday, August 13th. 
During the Public Comments, Stephanie Novoa, appeared on behalf of the Dawson County Nebraska Work Force Development that is part of Dawson Area Development. Novoa explained that her agency held a Sophomore Summit in Lexington last year where students could visit with businesses of their choice. They also had a Senior Lunch at Cozad High School this past April.
Included in the programming with county schools this year is a Student Leadership Class for Youth Development Dawson County with ten high school juniors in the county selected by their applications to attend the monthly meetings. The meetings will begin in September.
Representing Cozad will be juniors Bryaunna Everett and Meghan Pfaby.
Phil Klein, Account Manager with VVS Surveillance Systems appeared to present some options for Video Door Station and Access Control at both the middle school and the high school.  Klein noted that the district has a good IT infrastructure and that the high school and the middle school can be brought in on one server with advanced scheduling features. 
One goal is to have the schools locked down during school hours with those coming to the school being required to push a button to allow or disallow their access into the buildings.
The board discussed the options and decided that the security system updates will be on next year’s budget.
Middle School Guidance Counselor Bill Shaffer reported on the success of last year’s Courage Retreats presented by Youth Frontiers for 7th and 8th grade students. Shaffer had contacted the two Youth Frontiers reps upon recommendation of CMS Principal Brian Regelin who had met them at an administrative meeting in Omaha.
The two Youth Frontier staff members, and the ten juniors and seniors from CHS that put on the retreat received an hour of intensive training before school the day of the retreat.
According to Shaffer the retreat encourages team and leadership building with the three tenets being: Be True to Yourself; Take a Stand for Others and Confront Personality Issues Within Yourself.
Follow-up surveys taken six weeks after the retreat showed that the students felt that the retreat helped them to build a good culture with everyone in the middle school including staff members.
Cost of the retreat for two grades last year was $5,500 Regelin and Shaffer would like to see this year’s 7th graders take part in the retreat at the end of this school year at a cost of $3,000. Both felt that it would be money well spent as it was last year.
Regelin reported that both the high school and middle school are now on an eight period day and bell schedule. 
Regelin complimented the custodial staff on the work they completed during the summer months and applauded the efforts of John Smock in being able to repair mowers and vehicles thus saving the district money by only having to purchase the necessary parts.
Regelin also noted that the district would be saving 50 percent on cleaning supplies by going through a company who brings out the supplies and utilizes fill stations. The company is also providing training.
Regelin reported that there are nine new students registered at the middle school so far and that only seven of the incoming 6th grade students and their parents did not attend the open house.
Elementary Principal Dale Henderson reported that there are 70 instead of the projected 56 incoming Kindergarten students. “We have over 400 students Grades K-5 and have grown over ten students from this time last year,” Henderson said.
Superintendent Joel Applegate reported that he is working on a $42,000 grant for a bus and that the in-service days have been quite busy.
“The HVAC system is looking pretty good and the water is chilling in the pipes in hopes that the AC can be turned on soon,” Applegate said. Applegate also reported that the high school locker room was almost finished.
Under the Consent Agenda Items, 11 new classified hires were approved. Brenna Richie is the new CEEC Secretary. Tasia Aden, who worked as an ELL last year will be .625 FTE Social Worker and .375 ELL this year. Hired as AfterZone Paraprofessionals were LaDonna Brock, Phyllis Fleenor, Tylyn Haynes, Jordanne Boehle, Christina Perez and Jean Critchfield. Roger Henderson, Tina Henderson and Stephen Fokken were hired as Route and Activity Bus Drivers.
Discussion took place on the amount the district has to pay into the AfterZone Program. The program is entering its 12th year in existence this year and has a lot more students than expected when the grant was written twelve years ago.
According to Ramona Priel, the district has to match the $57,600 grant that is received each year for the program.
According to Priel, “We pay a lot more than that since we have so many families and students utilizing it and more than 80 percent do not pay since they are on free or reduced lunches.”
Priel said that $20,000 is taken in for tuition each year which does not come close to paying for it, but that the AfterZone Program is huge in Cozad and a definite advantage to the families who utilize it.
Under Action Items, board members approved the transfer of $33,070 from the Building Fund to the General Fund for reimbursement of asbestos removal expenses. Also approved were payments from the Building Fund to ControlTemp, Inc. for the boilers in the amount of $94,898 and from the Building Fund to Snell Services, Inc. for partial completion of the Boiler Room Mechanical Revisions in the amount of $78,214.33.
General Contractor Ed Kucirek from Kucirek Engineering had certified these payments, and board members also approved the payment from the Building Fund to Jones Plumbing for partial completion of the Locker Room Mechanical Project in the amount of $28,8000 once certification has been received from Kucirek.
Board members approved the purchase of a 2017 Dodge Grand Caravan in the amount of $22,375. The van has 5,600 miles and was purchased from Pony Express Chevrolet. 
Under Discussion Items, the board members discussed the ‘Conceal/Carry for Trained Teachers’. Board member Edd Albrecht is absolutely on board with this should it every happen. Board Member Joel Carlson felt that a Safety Person should perhaps be hired, but some members felt this person couldn’t be effective with four buildings to cover.
It was reported that Cozad Police officers do make unannounced walk-throughs at least once per month in each building and the drug dogs go through each building once per year. The middle school is planning to practice lockdown procedures quarterly this year.