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School district could start exploring lower site options

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news Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Investigating the possible upgrade of Brainerd School District’s lower site athletic fields is one step closer to reality.

At the Facilities Committee meeting last week, members voted to allow school officials to start exploring a potential timetable of work, financing options and forming a better grasp on the size and scope of the potential renovations.

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The committee recommendation will go before the full board at its next meeting for final approval.

The lower site — or the district’s football field, track field, tennis courts and drainage of the entire site — was built in 1975.

The district has done routine maintenance and repairs over the past 37 years, but there is need for major repair or replacement of the surfaces and drainage, said superintendent Steve Razidlo.

The base on which the track, tennis courts and football field are located has not been removed or replaced since it was first installed.

The topic of repair/replacement has been discussed by the board for three years and was placed on the district’s 10-year capital projects list.

“(The site) has served the community very well for a long time,” Razidlo said. “It’s in need of some significant work at some time in the near future and we’re wondering if this is that time.”

At the committee meeting last week, Razidlo presented members with three options to review before moving forward.

The first option was to delay major repairs and extend its current use, which would come with the financial impact ranging from $75,000­ to $100,000.

It calls for replacing the grass on football field and limited improvement to both field and future track drainage through the installation of new drains linked to a potential future site drainage system. It would delay the replacement of a new track and field complex, delay tennis court replacement and still allow for future, more comprehensive site renovations.

The second option is to authorize major repairs and expand the current use, with the price tag of $1.15 to $1.75 million.

It calls for new field grass, a new poly track and new tennis courts. Also to install a new site drainage.

The third option is again to authorize major repairs and expand current use, with the price tag of $2.2 ­to $2.7 million.

It calls for the field grass to be replaced with an artificial turf field, a new poly track and new tennis courts. Also, to install a new site drainage.

Financing the first option would be paid directly out of existing capital funds. Options two and three would be recommended to be funded through a mix of capital funds and lease­ levy authority, Razidlo said.

The committee recommended exploring more into options two and three.

“It’s exciting to look at the board’s willingness to investigate future re-investment,” Razidlo said.

If the full school board approves moving forward with further review, possible financing options and construction timetables, that information could be brought back before the Facilities Committee at its Sept. 5 meeting.

JESSICA LARSEN may be reached at jessica.larsen@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5859. Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/brainerdnews.

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