Wauzeka-Steuben reviews construction projects, student achievement

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Mara Hird received recognition for six years on the Wauzeka-Steuben Board of Education during the April 18 board meeting. Hird most recently acted as the board’s treasurer.

Andrew Udelhoven along with Board of Education President Nikki Asleson and Board Clerk Thomas Martin. Udelhoven received a certificate from the board for his performance at the state SkillsUSA competition. (Steve Van Kooten/Courier Press)

The April 18 Wauzeka-Steuben Board of Education meeting covered a variety of topics, including a potential future construction project, student achievement at the SkillsUSA competition and progress on the district’s crosswalk project.

In attendance were President Nikki Asleson, Vice President Ken Buck, Clerk Thomas Martin, Treasurer Mara Hird and Jessica Bird. Also in attendance were Interim District Administrator Dr. Gary Albrecht, Principal Tiffany Dums and Business Official Jeff Mara. Kevin Kilburg was absent.



Andrew Udelhoven, a student at Wauzeka-Steuben, won first place in high school-level carpentry at the 51st state SkillsUSA competition and qualified for the national competition in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 24-28.

Another student, Haylee Mitchell, won second place in the middle school-level CO2 dragster competition.

Martin said, “So, for employers, SkillsUSA is about the workforce. Our mission and vision are to make the Andrew’s and Annie’s the best they can be in the workforce.”

Martin said Udelhoven is the third state champion from the Wauzeka-Steuben School District.

Udelhoven appeared at the meeting, where he received a certificate of excellence from the board. The board also approved his request to attend the national competition and to cover travel expenses.


Solar Project

Patrick Dedrich from Upper 90 presented the board with more information about the installation of solar panels on the school’s roof.

Dedrich and Albrecht looked at 100kw and 130kw systems. Neither option would require drilling or other penetration of the building’s roof, which could have violated the terms of the roof’s warranty.

The 100kw system would offset the school’s energy usage by an estimated 30 percent, while the 130kw system would lead to an estimated 42 percent offset. Patrick said the 130kw system had the maximum number of panels the school could install.

“If you choose to move ahead with the solar, the entire system would have to be placed in service by July 1,” said Dedrich.

He added the district needed more than a single panel in use to meet the July deadline to qualify for the Focus on Energy grant and the 30 percent federal reimbursement. “We have to really show that there’s a real effort to get this done quickly.”

If the district went ahead with the solar project but did not have it operational by July 1, Wauzeka-Steuben would pay the first year of lease payments without reimbursement.

“Realistically, we’re probably not going to do this between now and July,” said Asleson.

Hird said, “My feeling is we have enough building projects right now, and it’s not going to happen by July 1.”

When asked about future construction costs, Patrick said Upper 90 expects “some increase year-over-year” in material costs.

The board took no action; however, the project may be brought to the public for consideration later in the year.



Albrecht and Jeremy Krachey, with Team Engineering, introduced a three-party engineering contract for the board’s approval. The contract included the school district, Team Engineering and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WDOT).

The Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternative Program grant is funding the project, which will construct a crosswalk with an LED-lit warning system at the intersection of Wisconsin 60 and Station Street.

Krachey said, “Until this is approved, we cannot do any physical work on the project because it has to go through the WDOT.”

He estimated the contract could take up to two months for approval, and the construction phase of the project would take approximately three weeks. The current timeline for the project’s completion is March 2025, with a public meeting expected in July after Team Engineering finishes preliminary planning.

According to Krachey, design fees, which included environmental and site costs, were capped at $9,910.48, and construction costs were estimated at $5,089.13. 

The school district is responsible for 20 percent of the costs, while the WDOT covers 80 percent of the project’s costs through reimbursements to the district, according to Albrecht.

The board approved the engineering contract.


Other business

- the board accepted Jessica Boylen’s resignation. Boylen worked as a second grade teacher.

- recognized Mara Hird, treasurer, for six years of service on the board of education. Hird finished her term at the April meeting.

- accepted a career and academic planning report from the district, which outlined services and resources available to students for career planning. Noted services included collaborations with area businesses, planning meetings, job shadows and field visits.

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