I would like to take a moment of your time to review the past projects the school district has completed since 2008.
This will give some background and perspective on the building bond vote that will be held on August 22, 2017.
2008: The school board was faced with a building that had very old air handlers – some dating back to 1950. They decided to replace the five oldest air handlers first. Up until 2008, the district was very fortunate it hadn’t had any major breakdowns, but it had become time to address these old systems. The classrooms had very stale, hot air and no ability to be dehumidified (cooled).
Tests showed the building’s air quality was very poor and certainly not up to current health and safety standards.
In order to provide a better classroom learning environment for the students and staff, a new set of air handlers was installed.
The results have been fantastic!
2015: The project in 2015 was focused on creating a more secure school building, along with a consolidation of all office staff to create better synergy. With the way the outside doors were situated there was no way to know who was coming into the building or leaving, leaving us with major security risks. The school board decided they wanted to consolidate all the offices into one space and provide windows to see who was entering and leaving the building.
2016: This project had many elements: There were three additional older air handlers replaced in 2016. One of the air handlers dated back to 1957 with the other two dating back to 1969. The replacement of these air handlers allowed us to be more efficient in the practice gym/lunchroom, the competition gym, the fitness center, the library, and the remaining downstairs high school classrooms. These new units provide a better learning environment and a more comfortable building, and they are health and safety compliant.
A new door system was installed that allows the secretaries to buzz people into the office, making the building more secure. New cabinets/sinks were installed in the Family and Consumer Science (Home Economics) room to update the 1957 fixtures.
Due to health and safety laws, the way we were running the concession stand (with tables in the hallway with extension cords and crock pots) was no longer allowed. We decided to create a concession stand that allowed everybody to work behind one counter and would pass the food and safety inspection. Also, the room next to the concession stand was converted into a commons for a place for people to sit and enjoy their concession food. It also doubles as a meeting room and teacher’s lounge, making it a real multi-functional room.
The bathrooms across from the competition gym were original (from 1957). The plumbing was failing, along with the space not being ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. The new bathrooms now meet all building codes and certainly serve the students and community better. A family bathroom was installed that allows for privacy and a changing table for babies/toddlers. In addition, it provides a private space for our students who might need some assistance.
The vestibule leading into the main doors was expanded as part of our security updates, providing a safe indoor space with good visibility for kids waiting for rides. The 1957 upstairs high school bathrooms had their fixtures replaced and the space was redesigned to meet all ADA codes. The tile in the Viking Hallway was updated to provide a more visually appealing area, which blends with the new concession stand and bathrooms.
The main outside entrances were updated along with the widening of the sidewalk to make it safer for people to walk to the building. A new school sign was installed to identify the school district and provide important messages happening at the school.
2018: Along with the other proposed projects, the district would like to replace the final two older air handlers that service part of the elementary school.
The two units, dating back to 1992 and 2004, would be replaced with one more efficient air handler to meet health and safety standards. The projects completed the past 10 years helped upgrade areas of the school that were original from 60-70 years old. While we are very fortunate to have the building we have, there are more updates needed to keep it in good operating order. The board has been working to prioritize these needs.
The driver of all of these improvements has always been providing a safer and better teaching/learning environment for our staff and students. The same reasoning is driving the projects I outlined in last week’s newspaper article. With an older building, we must continue to maintain it so it will continue to serve the community for many more decades! Finally, the district has set up a website page to house all the bond election information.
Please go to our front page at www.minneotaschools.org and click on the box in the middle that reads “August 22, 2017 Building Bond Election Details.”
This page will be updated periodically between now and August 22.