Brainerd School Board: Progress made in district's facilities plan
Last month the Brainerd School Board hired three companies to continue the district's work on its comprehensive long-range facilities plan. Monday, the board heard what the companies have done with the plan in the first month. The board Feb. 13 a...
Last month the Brainerd School Board hired three companies to continue the district's work on its comprehensive long-range facilities plan.
Monday, the board heard what the companies have done with the plan in the first month.
The board Feb. 13 approved a resolution to execute a contract with Foster, Jacobs & Johnson Inc., for facilities program management services to help the district implement its plan. The company's sub-consultants Widseth Smith Nolting and Kraus-Anderson Construction are assisting in the consulting process. All three companies have worked on numerous projects in school districts throughout Minnesota. WSN and Kraus-Anderson worked on the Forestview Middle School construction project.
FJJ will bring the district through the first five steps of the six-phase process of the plan. The six phases are:
• Comprehensive district communications planning,
• Stakeholder engagement: internal and external listening sessions,
• Potential surveys and assessments,
• Develop project scope options and alternatives,
• Bond referendum election process,
• Comprehensive construction management services.
David Bergeron of FJJ and Kevin Donnay of WSN Monday updated the board on what they have accomplished thus far. Bergeron said once they were hired and got everything organized, their work actually began Feb. 27. In that time, they have held 41 different listening sessions with several internal stakeholders such as the district's administration team, district's cabinet team, educational staff, non-certified staff, Early Childhood Family Education staff and the Brainerd Foundation Board members. They have not yet talk to the transportation staff.
Bergeron said they discussed space needs and what each person felt was needed at each particular school.
"We used a lot of Post-It notes ... and when we went over them there were lots of common themes," Bergeron said. "We are working on processing it all."
FJJ is now in the process of scheduling its second set of listening sessions that will involve the community.
Donnay said getting the community's input is important in this planning process. Donnay said they will host neighboring listening sessions around the elementary schools and gather the public's ideas and concerns with the plan.
Donnay said the existing plan the district has brought forward is "a good plan" but they plan to dig deeper and come up with every idea possible.
Brainerd Superintendent Laine Larson told the board there would be updates on the process every month to keep members up to speed. The initial timeline proposed by FJJ shows the scope of work would take place through August. There's no date set for a bond referendum at this time.
The recommendations in the approved comprehensive long-range facilities plan include a combination of right-sizing, renewal, reinvestment, repurposing and replacement. Those recommendations are:
• Brainerd High School: renew and reinvest,
• Forestview Middle School: maintain,
• Baxter Elementary School: replace with a new school; repurpose for programs from Lincoln Education Center and Brainerd Learning Center,
• Garfield Elementary School: right-size and renew,
• Harrison Elementary School: replace with a new school,
• Lowell Elementary School: right-size and renew,
• Nisswa Elementary School: right-size and renew,
• Riverside Elementary School: right-size and renew,
• Brainerd Learning Center: reinvest for early learning,
• Lincoln Education Center: vacate, relocating programs to current Baxter Elementary School,
• Washington Educational Services Building: renew.
There are 12 facilities in the district, comprising 1.2 million square feet and 289 acres of land. The district's boundaries encompass 516 square miles. The oldest building in the district, Washington Educational Services Building, was built in 1929. The newest building, Forestview Middle School, was built in 2004. The average age of the district's buildings is 44 years old.
Visit www.bit.ly/2fsCJWZ to view a final draft of the comprehensive long-range facilities plan.
(Staff Writer Spenser Bickett contributed to this story)