Last night the Greater Jasper School Board received an update on the continuing construction of the new Jasper high School Gym.

Project Manager Scott Stenfenagel says the building is now completely enclosed and heated and construction remains on schedule.

Stenfetnagel says the roof structure is currently being painted while other overhead work in being done. He says installation of the gym floor will begin in mid March while bleachers will be installed by early April.

Jasper school officials remain hopeful the building will be ready for this year’s Jasper High School commencement in May.

New Jasper High School Softball Coach Matt Pryor appeared before the School Board to share his vision for the Jasper girls softball program and the program’s growth.

Pryor along with two parents from the Jasper Girls Softball booster club shared with the board their plans to raise $300,000 to build a new softball field house for hitting and other indoor practice exercises.

Pryor told the school board an indoor practice facility would give his players a more convenient place to hit year-round. He says currently girls are going outside of the community to practice due to the limited availability of facilities.   Pryor also expressed issues including time availability, drill restrictions and space.

Currently members of the girls softball team are sharing the Ruxer Field field house with the baseball team when available.  That facility has 4 batting tunnels and in most cases players are unable to practice at that location until as late as 6 pm.

Pryor told the board growth and interest in the program warrants expansion and a new field house. He says 39 7th and 8th grade girls have come out for the Jr Softball program of which only 26 could be chosen due to a limited coaching staff.

The school board gave their blessing for conducting a fundraiser for a new facility.

School Board President Nancy Habig says she and other board members applaud the efforts of softball boosters and would like to see future additions to the program’s middle school staff.

Also last night, Assistant Superintendent Bob Hacker presented policy changes to the school’s substance abuse program for the board to consider.

Changes included a new curriculum focus on drug education in 6th grade health classes and also biology 1 in high school.

Other changes included a greater focus on mentoring, both peer and adult, random drug testing and improved safety measures for students including a school hotline.

Hacker told the board the next community meeting of the task force will be held on March 19th.

Hacker also told the board that Online and onsite training will begin later this week and in March for New Transportation software. Once implemented in the spring, the new software will provide information such as bus assignments to users.

And the board hired VPS architecture of Evansville for the roof replacement project at 10th Street school. The board approved advertisement for construction bids which must be received by April 2nd. A committee of Hacker and board attorney Art Nordhoff will open bids that day at 1pm. The board will then consider bids during its regular meeting in late April.