Florence to get second laser engraver

Fab Lab improvements eyed; contract awarded for school safety measures

FLORENCE, Wis. — The Florence County School District will acquire a new Epilog laser engraver from First Technologies Inc. of Brookfield, Wis.

The school board earlier this week approved the $28,545 purchase after delaying the decision in January when board members had questions about the purchase.

The district received a $25,000 Wisconsin Technology Initiative grant toward the purchase, but $5,000 of that is for training, Superintendent Ben Niehaus told the board.

Niehaus told the board the purchase had to come from First Technologies because it is the only authorized Wisconsin dealer for this engraver. Niehaus had been asked to see if the engraver was available from another vendor.

The additional cost could be covered with timber sale money or several other budget areas, but they haven’t decided where yet, Niehaus said.

The equipment features a 60-watt laser with a 32-by-20-inch engraving area. The district also has an 18-by-24-inch engraver with a 30-watt laser.

Niehaus also presented a proposed capital plan for the tech ed and Fab Lab after speaking with staff in those areas. Nothing will be added to the Fab Lab for 2019-2020, but an wood planer is proposed for tech ed for an estimated $20,000. There is also a need for a belt sander at a cost of $2,000 and a new welder at $2,200.

In 2020-21, the Fab Lab has scheduled adding two 3-D printers at $3,500 each and 15 computers for a total of $22,500, along with 15 for the cad lab for an additional $22,500.

The tech ed department would like to purchase one welder a year from 2019-2020 through 2022-2023 and add two in 2023-2024. The welders would be the only equipment purchased in those years.

In five to 10 years equipment may have to be replaced in the fab lab.

In other business, the board;

— Approved a $23,220 quote from MBM Construction Co. in Kingsford to install a new pair of doors in a corridor just north of the cafeteria and add panic buttons on existing vestibule doors. The district received a $21,085 federal Department of Justice grant for safety upgrades. The additional money needed would come from the elementary school building budget that has furniture and other dues and fees under budget at $2,242. The new doors would allow officials to block off unneeded portions of the school during events in the gym and cafeteria.

— Learned the district is not eligible for free breakfast and lunch under U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines. Niehaus said the district is at 36.41 percent below the income and other qualifications, just below the required 40 percent needed to qualify. District officials had been asked why free breakfast and lunch was not offered when available in some neighboring districts.

— Scheduled a Building and Grounds Committee meeting for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in high school room 259, so Johnson Controls can present options for annual system maintenance plans.

— Agreed to allow Ukraftig of Florence to use the facility on Friday afternoons this summer for K-9 dog training. Most of the canines will be 3 to 4 months old, with a few adult dogs. The dogs are used by law enforcement and the military. All will be leashed, muzzled and tended by trained handlers while on school grounds.

Marguerite Lanthier can be reached at 906-774-3500, ext. 42, or mlanthier@ironmountaindailynews.com.