|Red Rock Central Facility Challenges and Opportunities
Red Rock Central School is currently facing significant facility challenges. The oldest portion of the building was constructed in 1915 and the average age of the entire building is 76 years. According to the MN Department of Education, the average age of all school facilities in MN is 40.91 years.
In 2017 the RRC school board embarked on a full facility assessment and process to develop a long-range facility plan that would uphold the Red Rock Central facilities vision. In March of 2019, a Facility Task Force Committee was formed to further investigate the facility needs of Red Rock Central using the Academic Mission and Facilities Vision as their guiding principles. Through our assessments and their work, the following facilities challenges and opportunities were identified:
Americans with Disability Act (ADA) Accessibility Challenges
Our schools do not meet ADA codes:
Safety and Security Needs
- There is no elevator in our building so students and visitors in wheelchairs cannot access spaces above or below ground level.
- If a student is on crutches or experiences a temporary disability, a classroom must be moved to a new space to accommodate them. In some cases, students on crutches have needed to navigate stairs to get to their classrooms.
Visitors can access anytime:
- Our building was built at a time when security was not a big issue as it is today. The front office does not have the means to control building access and may not always be aware of visitors entering the building, allowing visitor’s full access to building and classroom spaces without checking in to the main office.
- There is currently no automated lockdown notification system in the event of school crisis.
- There are numerous access points, including community access to the fitness center during the school day.
Our building is old and requires significant investment to prevent further deterioration:
Educational Adequacy Limitations
- The oldest portion of the building was constructed in 1915 and the average age of the entire building is 76 years. According to the MN Department of Education, the average age of all school facilities in MN is 40.91 years.
- Major infrastructure investments are needed to address deficiencies in windows, electrical, building envelope, mechanical, plumbing, and interior finishes to prevent further deterioration and meet current building codes.
Our building was not designed to deliver education for the way kids learn today:
- The inadequate or lack of usable space at RRC is a challenge that impacts our children’s learning and the future of our community. Our building limits instruction, accessibility, security and our ability to attract and retain employees. Teachers know that for students to be prepared for a future workforce, spaces are needed that allow for individualized instruction and for students to work together in small groups.
- There are no break-out or flexible learning spaces in our building, limiting group work and one-on-one instruction.
- Special education services, reading support, and speech and language instruction are taking place in portables, hallways, entrances, and the lunchroom. That means that students who may need extra help to succeed are losing educational time and are facing added barriers to success.
- There isn’t enough classroom space for our health classes, which means that instruction takes place in our auditorium.
- There are only two gym stations for all our K-12 students, creating competition for space during and after school
- We know that students who participate in athletics and extra-curricular activities do better and are more engaged in school, but our lack of space means that our kids have shortened athletic practices, our drama students are practicing in an adjacent shed, and our cheerleaders and dance programs are practicing in the hallways.
- Our Community Education sports and activities do not have access to gym space until after 6:30 pm, which means late practices for our youngest athletes.
- We have portable classrooms that have become permanent. These classrooms were not designed for long-term use and are inefficient to heat.
Building now makes the most economic sense:
- Representative Rodney Hamilton introduced language in the 2019 legislative session advocating for $15M to assist the district in addressing identified facilities needs. His primary concern centered on ADA compliance for district buildings as there are sections that are not easily accessible for disabled users.
- If proposed legislation is passed, the state would give the district $15M for improvements provided the district passes at least a matching amount of $15M in a bond election.
- The legislature successfully passed legislation in the 2019 session to increase the Ag2credit for agricultural property from 40% to 70%, in a phased approach. It is now currently at 50% for Payable 2020 (2019-2020 school year) and will go to 55% in Payable 2021, 60% in Payable 2022 and 70% in Payable 2023. This is permanent law and a tax credit.
- Our aging building means increased operations and maintenance costs.
- Interest rates are favorable.
- Our needs will not go away and the cost of construction is increasing.