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Brainerd Public Schools: Building projects moving along steadily

Brainerd High School is among several buildings in the Brainerd School District to undergo construction after last April's successful bonding referendum. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Work continues on several building projects in the Brainerd School District.

The school board is set to approve construction documents next month and authorize ICS Consulting to solicit bids for three building projects.

Consultants will present documents relating to Harrison and Nisswa elementary schools and Forestview Middle School at the Feb. 25 school board meeting, during which the board will also vote on the design development proposal for Brainerd High School updates.

Board members saw preliminary designs for alterations to the pick-up/drop-off area and the addition of a secure entrance at Forestview. Brandon Kellerman, of ICS Consulting, presented three configurations for the drop-off area with a new route coming off Knollwood Drive to help alleviate congestion, though he said none of the options are perfect and he will come back with a more concrete design at the Jan. 28 board meeting. The board will then vote on the schematic design Feb. 11 and approve the final design and authorize bids to go out Feb. 25. If all goes as planned, Kellerman said, work at Forestview will be done before the 2019-20 school year.

The school board previously approved designs for Nisswa and Harrison. Nisswa will see a full-sized gymnasium with additions to the current gym, a two-story classroom addition, remodeling on the southern end of the building, enlargement of the cafeteria and remodeling of the kitchen and office area. A new addition at Harrison will house the main office and a new gym, while the old gym will become a media center. The school's entrance will move from Oak Street to Norwood Street on the north side of the building.

Updates to Brainerd High School include more classroom space so the north campus can house all students, an eight-lane competition swimming pool, more parking and a new 1,200-seat performing arts center, which could be operational as early as fall 2021. The school's updates are expected to be completed by that date as well.

The school board has yet to officially vote on a location for the new elementary school in Baxter, but members previously voiced support for building the school off a yet-to-be constructed portion of Jasperwood Drive. Pending site approval, the board will likely approve construction documents and authorize ICS to solicit bids for the project in March. The project is estimated to be complete by the fall of 2020, as is construction on Nisswa and Harrison elementary schools.

Theresa Bourke

I started at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and the Brainerd School District. I follow city and school board officials as they make important decisions for residents and students and decide how to spend taxpayer dollars. I look for feature story ideas among those I meet and enjoy, more than anything, helping individuals tell their stories and show what makes them unique.

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