The Brainerd School District's Building Committee took its last tour Wednesday in its research for the school's long-range comprehensive plan.
The focus of the plan is what will work the best for students' educational needs. The school board began gathering information last fall and members have continued the research. The board plans to take a break this summer and the public will get a chance for input this fall.
The committee toured the Area Education Center, Brainerd High School Farm and the Minnesota Learning Center. They had toured all the elementary schools and the high school.
The AEC is an alternative leaning center where students meet on a one-to-one basis with each of their teachers. There are 372 students and 31 staff members. The center is located at St. Andrew's Catholic Church.
AEC does not have space for physical education activities, art and music classes, library, group curriculum projects, speakers and staff meetings. Marlee Larson, AEC director, said the center has limited space for classrooms, day care, restrooms and lunch area. Larson said a potential solution would be to relocate both alternative programs into one larger building.
"The high school farm utilizes its space the best the staff can," said Mike Reeser, instructor. "What the farm needs is additional staff so they don't have to cut classes."
A greenhouse expansion will be in the works for a year-round facility and when it is complete more instructors will be needed. The farm is on 80 acres on Highway 25.
The Minnesota Learning Center at the Brainerd Regional Human Services Center has 63 students, and 40 percent of them are from Brainerd. Other pupils come from other districts, such as Crosby and McGregor. Students who attend this center are in special education programs and have emotional and behavior problems.
First-graders to juniors attend the center. George Tetreault, director of the school program, said most of the students who come to the center know it is not fun and will let other students from public schools know so they don't get themselves in the same situations.
"Kids need to accept responsibility and ones here can't," he said. "These kids won't stop. We can either call the police, their parents, but I prefer to keep them here and take care of it (the situation)."
Tetreault said all they need from the district is its support, which they have. They are planning an expansion next year and will move into Building 18.
The center is not allowed to make a profit, said Tetreault. All the districts pay the same amount.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.