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School Board updates layout for Washington building remodel

The last of the 2018 referendum building projects is underway and set to wrap up next August.

Winter shot of the Washington Educational Services Building
Washington Educational Services Building Jan. 19, 2022.
Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch
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BAXTER — The last of the Brainerd Public Schools 2018 referendum building projects is underway.

Interior demolition is ongoing at the Washington Educational Services Building, School Board members learned during their meeting Monday, Nov. 14. Board members heard the update from the choir room at Forestview Middle School, where they are meeting while remodeling happens at the Washington building.

The Oak Street building houses the district’s welcome center, voluntary pre-kindergarten programs, district offices and the Paul Bunyan Educational Cooperative. The welcome center will remain in place on the first floor, with a secure entrance at the front of the building. Various administrative offices will be remodeled and relocated.

More bathrooms will be added to early childhood classrooms, existing bathrooms will be updated to meet guidelines from the Americans with Disabilities Act, and a wheelchair lift will be added to the south side of the building, which currently only has stairs to the entrances.

There will be a multipurpose flex space in the middle of the welcome center to be used for events like community meetings, conferences or informational sessions.

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Bids for the project came in at about $8.45 million in July, under the $10 million budget, giving project managers room to the means to revisit the first floor layout and administrative needs on the second floor.

Board members approved an updated layout at their last meeting, at a cost not to exceed $425,000.

A couple first floor offices were moved as a result of the changes, and the superintendent’s office moved from the second floor to the first, so the superintendent can be near the welcome center and more accessible for new families.

Offices will be relocated on the second floor to put staff from each department in the same area so they can work together more easily.

During construction, district offices and the welcome center are located at 110 NW Third St., which is the red house on the southeast side of Riverside Elementary School.The project is expected to wrap up in August 2023.

In other business Nov. 14, the board:

 Approved new hires: Blake Alholm, targeted service teacher at Baxter Elementary; Nancy Bieganek, targeted services teacher at Nisswa Elementary; Anne Campion, targeted services teacher at Lowell Elementary; Barb DePaoli, targeted services teacher at Baxter Elementary; Lorie Duevel, credit recovery teacher at Brainerd High School; Jennifer Fundine, credit recovery teacher at BHS; Suzanne Grammer, long-term substitute teacher at Riverside Elementary; Lori Hodge, targeted services teacher at Riverside Elementary; Chris Hunter, targeted services teacher at Riverside Elementary; Jana Johnson, targeted services teacher at Riverside Elementary; Cindra Kuschel, districtwide adult basic education teacher; Suzanne Miller, credit recovery teacher at BHS; Heather Neumann, early childhood teacher at Washington Educational Services Building; Sashanna O’Shea, targeted services teacher at Baxter Elementary; Jill Ostendorf, targeted services teacher at Riverside Elementary; Eunice Peabody, credit recovery coach at BHS; Stacy Podoll-Erdal, targeted services teacher at Riverside Elementary; Steffanie Sanford, credit recovery teacher at BHS; Nicole Stirewalt, targeted services teacher at Riverside Elementary; Hannah True, targeted services teacher at Riverside Elementary; Sarah Vang, targeted services teacher at Lowell Elementary; Cassy Berndt, nutrition professional at Forestview Middle School; Marcie Hofman, credit recovery educational assistant at BHS; Karla Kunde, educational assistant at Baxter Elementary; Brittany Ladouceur, cook manager at Discovery Woods; Jenawa Litke, school nurse at BHS; Michael Lowe, educational assistant at Riverside Elementary; Traci Miles, building administrative assistant at Traci Miles, Mark Orzolek, behavbior management specialist at Lincoln Education Center; Monica Simmonds, educational assistant at Warrior Early Learning Center; Lincoln Singh, educational assistant at Forestview; Travis Snyder, after-school educational assistant at Forestview; Joseph Taray, districtwide custodian; McKinley Anderson, assistant boys basketball coach at BHS; Pamela Bloomer, Fun ‘N’ Friends site supervisor at Baxter Elementary; Layne Danielson, assistant wrestling coach at Forestview; Avery Davidage, assistant dance coach at BHS; Hannah Elliot, district wide Fun ‘N’ Friends program assistant; Sandra Jensen, district wide continuing education enrichment instructor; Kathleen Kinder Goble, event worker at BHS; Colby Ring, assistant varsity football coach at BHS; Britni Robertson, eighth grade head girls basketball coach at Forestview; Louis Roseman, ninth grade head boys basketball coach at BHS; Heather Saffell, event worker at BHS; Lindsey Soule, districtwide continuing education enrichment instructor.

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Accepted donations to the district: Warrior gear and $500 gift card from Brainerd Public Schools Foundation for pantry at Forestview; $500 from Anderson Brothers Construction for the BHS robotics team; $500 from Brainerd Lakes Area Women of Today for early childhood scholarships; $1,000 from Lexington Manufacturing for the Super Mileage Club at BHS; $50 from M Thurlow Trust for the BHS Key Club; $250 from Paula Murray for the BHS robotics team; winter clothing from Debra Steuck for the pantry at Forestview; $200 from Aquarius Water Conditioning for the BHS robotics team; $500 from Lindar Corporation for the BHS robotics team; $300 from holiday Gas State/David Quisberg for gas cards for students in need at the Brainerd Learning Center.

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Approved a field trip request for fourth graders at Garfield Elementary School to visit Deep Portage Learning Center in Hackensack Jan. 17-19.

Renewed a lease agreement with The Center for the school farm for the year of 2023 at a cost of $2.

Approved a purchase agreement with Edina Realty for the BHS construction house to the highest bidder.

Approved the final reading of an update service animals policy, allowing the presence of therapy dogs in schools under certain conditions.

Approved the final reading of an updated dress code policy to include tattoos — temporary or permanent — as items that must follow the district’s dress code and cannot be lewd, vulgar, obscene, defamatory, profane or advocate violence or harassment against others.

Approved the final reading of an updated conflict of interest policy for school board members, according to Minnesota School Boards Association guidance, increasing the amount a school board member employed in the district is allowed to earn from $8,000 per year to $20,000. Board members can only have paid jobs — such as coaching or part-time work — in the district if they earn $20,000 or less per year.

Appointed board member Kevin Boyles to attend the 2022 Minnesota School Boards Association delegate assembly meeting scheduled for Dec. 2-3.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at theresa.bourke@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa .

Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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