School board approves construction project changes

Brainerd High School is still under construction Wednesday, Aug. 12. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Brainerd School Board members approved several change orders for the Brainerd High School building project and took a closer look at the possibility of a full-sized gymnasium at Garfield Elementary School.

Projects managers from ICS presented the board with updates Monday, Aug. 10.

The board authorized $53,972 to be used to reroute plumbing and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system around the pool area at Brainerd High School. In addition, they approved the addition of a construction crane access ramp to the pool deck for $63,959.

Lastly at the high school, the board authorized $53,249.97 to be used for plumbing and HVAC changes at the north campus. Changes include new and relocated overflow roof drains and revising the plumbing layout.

The money for the three changes will come from the construction contingency fund, which Project Manager Damien Williams said has $2.4 million of the original $3.5 million.


“We are in a very good spot, and we feel very confident that we’re doing all the right things here and the budget’s doing well,” Williams said.

Garfield gymnasium

As it stands, Garfield Elementary School is the only school without plans for a full-sized gymnasium, but that may change.

Board members approved up to $11,700 for schematic designs that would extend the gym nearly 25 feet to the north and give it a full-sized court.

The full-sized gym was not originally in the plans due to budget concerns, but this schematic design phase will give the board and project managers a better idea of what a full-sized gym might cost. Depending on the schematic designs, board members can decide later if they want to move forward with the project.

Garfield elementary school is still under construction Wednesday, Aug. 12, in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

In other business Monday, the board:

Approved new hires: Nicole Benson, on-call child care program assistant; Michelle Bjorklund, head eighth grade girls basketball coach; Curtis Brisk, assistant varsity football coach; Kyle Crocker, assistant ninth grade football coach; Christopher Cynowa, special education teacher at Forestview Middle School; Mark Erickson, assistant varsity football coach; Mitch Feierabend, assistant varsity football coach; Wade Haapajoki, assistant varsity football coach; Alaina Jensen, on-call child care program assistant; Amber Kopp, orchestra extracurricular adviser at Brainerd High School; Jeffrey Lee, lead special education teacher at Riverside Elementary; Logan McElfresh, assistant varsity football coach; Derek Owen, assistant ninth grade football coach; Molly Rider, building secretary at Riverside Elementary; Will Riley, assistant ninth grade football coach; Jessie Strangstalien, on-call child care program assistant; Gina Thesing, welcome center/early childhood clerical staff.


Accepted a donation of 30,000 masks for staff and students from Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Approved bids for entrance camera systems for Nisswa Elementary School, $44,762; Baxter Elementary School, $72,965; and Harrison Elementary School, $44,335.

Authorized $121,901 to be used for a card access system at Brainerd High School.

Approved the first reading of revisions to the addendum of the district’s visitors policy, adding all visitors to school facilities should be prepared to show a driver’s license or valid state-issued identification upon entering.

Approved the first reading of a new district policy regarding a dress code for staff members. The policy prohibits clothing, accessories and body art containing visible material that is: obscene; libelous or slanderous; advertises products or services illegal to minors; encourages individuals to commit illegal acts or violate school policies; expresses or advocates for discrimination, harassment or violence; expresses political views or endorses a political candidate; or substantially disrupts the orderly operation of school activities. Clothing must not be low cut or create exposure when bending over or sitting on the floor.

Appointed Angie Bennett, human resources director, as the district’s Title IX coordinator. Title IX is a federal law prohibiting discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal funding.

Approved the post-secondary enrollment options contract with Central Lakes College for 2020-21 school year. The cost for the district is $236 per college credit hour per student. Board member Charles Black Lance, who works for CLC, abstained from voting.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .
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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