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District weighs future building needs

Randy Bergquist

The Osakis School District is taking a hard look into the future needs of its facilities.

During an hour and a half work session on Sept. 10, the Osakis School Board met with representatives Jacqui Coldman and Luke Pfotenhauer of InGensa, a Plymouth consulting firm that works with school districts to renovate and improve their facilities.

Board members reviewed a detailed three-page spreadsheet listing the deficiencies on the district facilities including interior, mechanical, electrical, site, exterior and educational adequacy issues.

The Facilities Committee, as well as the School Board, have been planning for facility improvements, ranking them in two phases and giving items a score of one through four in action priority.

Some of these discussion items include fixing the 1965 auditorium south roof and wall leak.

Other projects include such things as restroom and locker room renovations, locker replacement, flooring, classroom and gym ventilation, asbestos abatement, boiler repairs, replacing lighting, electrical services replacements, parking lot and sports fields repair, tuck-pointing, roofing and exterior door replacements.

The report listed funding sources for the various projects, including Long-Term Facilities Maintenance Revenue (LTFMR), health and safety funding, abatement bonding and other.

Long-term planning for educational adequacy lists may include media center renovation and a future new auditorium, field house/community activity center addition, new playgrounds, and staff restrooms in the elementary wing.

The long-term projects would be funded by a potential future referendum.

Superintendent Randy Bergquist announced to the School Board that the Media Center renovation is in progress. A generous donation of $50,000 has been received from Newman Olson, Jr., and Sonya Olson, from the Newman and Sonya Olson Advised Fund at the West Central Initiative Foundation.

Construction will be accomplished over MEA weekend Oct. 17-18.

"This will make the Media Center more of a 21st Century Learning Center," Bergquist said.

There will be flexible seating like in the elementary library, along with fresh paint, flooring and installation of study pods.

Other business

In other business the School Board:

• Accepted gifts of $2,500 from United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties for ECFE; and United Way for $500 for FACS/P4T; and Tennis Student Activity Fund of $472 for uniforms.

• Approved a policy for requests to move above intended age appropriate grade, or for starting Kindergarten before age 5.

• Approved installation of insulation, OBS, heater, gas line, and electric for the storage shed at a cost of $4,000.

• Heard principal reports and the student representative report.

Elementary Principal Shad Schmidt reported on the enrollment figures, lunch update, World's Best Workforce, and SMART goals for principals.

Secondary Principal Tim Roggenbuck reported a Dollar General literacy grant was applied for by Victoria VanWatermulen, and received. The Renaissance program began with handing out T-shirts on the first day. The Leadership Group is going to Ft. Ripley for training, and a class will be visiting Battle Point and the Sauk River this fall.

The College Fair is Sept. 20 in Alexandria.

Student representative Megan Pickert reported that plans were developing for Homecoming Week, Sept. 17-21. The homecoming dance will be casual, with a semi-formal dance during the winter, similar to homecoming.