The Brainerd School Board is one step closer in preparing its long-range comprehensive plan.
After two hours of discussion Wednesday the board selected Widseth, Smith and Nolting to provide architectural support for the district's long-range planning process. The long-range planning committee interviewed three Brainerd architectural firms -- WSN, Architectural One and Stegner-Phelps Architects.
School Board Chairman Lew Hudson said it was hard to choose among the three firms. He said the decision to go with WSN was based on the firm's performance and experience with the district in the past.
In the last 30 years, only two architects from the firm have served the district -- Bob Meyer from 1968 to 1999 and Kevin Donnay from 1992 to present. During this timeframe the firm has worked on more than 100 projects for the district. Projects WSN completed include the physical education building addition to the high school, Riverside Elementary School addition and remodeling and the Garfield Elementary School addition.
"We went with Widseth, Smith and Nolting because we thought they were the best choice," said Hudson. "Their work has been extraordinary."
Janet Moran, board member and chair of the long-range planning committee, said deciding to choose WSN came down to small details in the architect firm's presentation. She said all the firms understood what the district wanted, knew the facilities, the area and the economics of the area.
"We knew all the groups and took it very seriously," said Moran. "We saw the relationship WSN had with the school in the past and through their presentation they understood thoroughly the process."
Moran said WSN saw that the district may need more options with the process. For example, the district cannot rebuild every building more than 50 years old. WSN also said the district will have to look at, as a possibility, future building uses if a building is vacated.
Donnay said the firm has the resources to be a pivotal part of the district's planning and design team. The firm plans for growth and works to meet the challenges of the future.
"WSN has been part of the past ongoing maintenance and remodeling program of the district and we believe we are in an excellent position to assist the district in examining options for the future whether that is sizable renovation, new construction or a combination," said Donnay.
WSN will help the district stay current with facility design trends and help build a facility team for the future. It also will help the district in the planning process, gathering data, analyzing and reporting information, developing alternatives and hosting a review and comment process.
"WSN has been named for architectural support of the district's long-range planning process," said Steve Dickinson, business manager. "Now we must determine if a construction project will be part of the long-range plan."
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