A long-term plan to improve our facilities, not a quick fix.
The district is focused on developing a long-term facilities plan that focuses on solving the top five community identified needs. While other issues, such as sporting facilities at the high school and the middle school pool, were raised as issues during community listening sessions, they were not as urgent as those included in the top five list. This plan is being developed with enrollment projections, current and future needs and other factors being considered. The first step in this long-term plan is to focus on two areas.
Focus Area One: Pleasantview Elementary
At this time, the district can address most priorities with little to no tax impact using existing dollars. Pleasantview, our most urgent need, will require a public referendum to fund the project.
On November 5, 2019, the district will ask voters to decide on a single ballot question for $37.1 million to replace Pleasantview Elementary with a new school on the current site. This considers a new elementary school that meets Minnesota Department of Education guidelines, site improvements including re-routing utilities and demolition of the existing facility.
Why not renovate the current Pleasantview?
To remodel the current building to fix only the critical issues would cost nearly as much as replacing the building with a brand-new facility. Remodeling takes longer and is more disruptive to students. Replacing the current building with a new facility will make tax payer dollars go further and is reflective of the community's input.
Focus area two: Safety and Preserving Our Schools
During the summer of 2019, the district is completing $4.4 million in safety and security upgrades using general fund dollars and a State of Minnesota School Safety Grant. These updates will improve the safety and security of our facilities.
The remainder of the items in Focus Area Two would be acted on after a public decision on Pleasantview. That decision will determine both what is included as well as how they are funded. If voters approve a replacement for Pleasantview, longer term needs and improvements would be funded from current Long-Term Maintenance Fund dollars and borrowing against this revenue. It would not have a new tax impact on district residents. Priorities have been identified by district staff and a team of professional engineers, then sorted into three tiers based on urgency:
Priority Needs 1 (1-2 years)
Would include various roofing repairs, heating and boiler repairs/replacement and parking lot improvements.
Priority Needs 2 (3-10 years)
Would include various window and door replacements, parking lot repairs and building exterior upgrades
Priority Needs 3 (10+ years)
Would include interior finishes, roof replacements and heating plant upgrades
So, what’s next?
First and foremost, the community must decide on what to do about Pleasantview. A public decision on Pleasantview will give the district direction on future facility needs and how to best fund them using available funding sources for facility improvements. This includes general fund and lease levy dollars.
If the public decides not to replace Pleasantview, financial resources that could be used for these other projects would be reallocated to address needed improvements at Pleasantview. This includes items in Focus Area Two, since those dollars would be needed to make critical improvements to Pleasantview.