The Brainerd School District has a lot of work ahead of it after voters approved the $59.9 million building bond Tuesday by a slim margin.
Superintendent Jerry Walseth met with Kevin Donnay of Widseth Smith Nolting architecture and engineering firm Wednesday to discuss a proposed timeline for the building project. WSN will continue to be the district's architecture firm.
The building bond project includes $47.2 million to construct a fifth- through eighth-grade school in Baxter; $5 million for technology needs throughout the district; $750,000 to move the administrative, community education, Fun and Friends, the media and technology offices to Washington Middle School; and $6.9 million to construct a ninth- through 12th-grade campus with the high school and Mississippi Horizons.
Walseth said a design team for the middle school will be formed from staff in different areas of the school district, including transportation and food service. The middle school is projected to be open for students for the 2004-05 school year.
Bids for construction of the school will go out as early as November and be completed by next April. Site work for the project is projected to begin as early as December 2003 and construction is expected to be completed by July 2004.
Walseth said the school board will have to make a decision on the final design for the middle school before construction begins. The board looked at two concepts in December. Both concepts will allow room for future construction of a high school or an elementary building. Both proposed designs also have each grade separated by pods to minimize the younger students from socializing with the older crowd. The pods will be two stories high.
The school will be constructed on the school district's 181 acres in Baxter between County Road 48, Mountain Ash Drive and Mapleton Road. The fifth- through eighth-grade school, which will host 550 students per grade, will be about 330,000 square feet.
The design team also will look at what remodeling needs to be done with Mississippi Horizons and Brainerd High School, as well as the gymnasium. Walseth proposes this will be taken care of in June 2003 and be completed the following January. Construction of the gymnasium and other remodeling of the schools are then expected to take place from March 2004 to January 2005.
Remodeling of Washington Middle School is expected to take place October 2004 and be ready for the administration and other programs to move into by January 2005.
Walseth said the design team will meet in April and have roughly 28 meetings with WSN to come up with the final details. There also will be community forums held to gather information from the public on the middle school design.
"We want to hear both voices, from the educational and community standpoint," said Walseth.
He said the educational professionals will look at classrooms, a media center, physical and special education areas, administration, transportation and food service. The area of the school that could be used by the public could be gymnasium space when the students are not using it.
Walseth said the school board plans to initiate other discussions the school bond affects before the end of the school year and as early as next month. The main issue to be discussed is the future of Franklin Junior High School. The building will no longer be used as a school.
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