What is the Plan?
The plan has three parts that not only address the facility needs in our district head on, but provide other options and plans for future needs.
Question 1 would approve a $41,250,000 facilities bond to build a new preK-12 school adjacent to our existing school.
Question 2 would approve a $2,880,000 facilities bond to construct and equip a wrestling room and an additional gym station at the proposed new preK-12 school facility.
Question 3 would approve a $1,015,000 bond to provide funds for the decommissioning and demolition of the currently existing facility.
Question 2 and 3 can only pass if Question 1 passes.
If all three questions are approved, the impact for taxes payable in 2022 would be $90 per year on an average home value of $75,000. In 2021, the same property will see an $84 reduction due to voter approval of the reduced operating levy. So the net tax increase, or the difference in taxes between 2020 and 2022 for this property, would be $6.00 per year.
Based on the recommendation of a community-led Task Force, we are again proposing a new Pre-K-12 school adjacent to the current facility. This new building addresses all of our educational issues and ADA accessibility requirements. Maintenance costs will be lower and it will provide effective instruction space for decades to come.
A community-based task force, made up of business leaders, parents and community members was formed in March of 2019 to address the facility needs and recommended to build a new single-campus facility.
Wrestling Room and Additional Gym
The current school has a wrestling room, but in order to address feedback from MDE about excess per student square footagge, it has not been included in Question 1. Our current facility has two gymnasiums, but we are limited in how many classes can use the gyms, and activities have to schedule practice time early in the morning and late into the evening. The wrestling room would provide the school and youth wrestling with dedicated wrestling practice space, avoiding use of a gym space and storage space for mats. The third dedicated gymnasium would allow us more flexibility to accommodate additional gym classes and activities, as well as additional community use.
We heard during community meetings that many people wanted input on deciding whether to decommission or demolish the Lamberton Building. The district didn’t demolish the Storden, Jeffers or Sanborn buildings when they were closed. Approval of this question does not mean the building will be demolished, just that bond funds would be available if it has to be demolished. The school board’s first priority would be to sell the building to a buyer that would repurpose the building for another use. If no buyer can be found, the best economic solution for the district is to demolish the building to avoid maintenance costs on an unused building. If Question 3 passes and the building is sold, the district can choose not to levy for this expense, and taxpayers property taxes will not increase in the amount needed to pay for demolition. The school board wants what is best for the community when determining the future of the existing building.
What does decommission mean?
Decommissioning a building means “moth ball” or putting the building into hibernation. This includes maintaining minimum heat to ensure water pipes don’t freeze, and shutting down all unnecessary lighting and systems. Maintenance costs would still be incurred. If the building is demolished, the district would use bond funds for actual demolition and Long-Term Facility Maintenance funds for abatement of asbestos tile or other hazardous materials.