Mounds View Schools administration provided the school board with an update to the facilities development proposal at the June 13 meeting.
The update included additional information on the projected cost of a potential bond, tax impact for multiple home values in the district, a construction timeline and site specific information, particularly for Irondale, Mounds View High School and Edgewood Middle School projects.
The Mounds View School District has a large projected enrollment growth in the coming years. Although the district has closed enrollment to neighboring communities, numbers are still continuing to grow strictly through residential growth. To proactively address these issues, a facilities task force was formed to determine specific needs and changes to the district’s buildings. The task force completed six months of research and presented a final recommendation to the school board, who will ultimately make decisions on funding and projects.
Following this recommendation, administration presented a development proposal to the board at the May 16 meeting.
The “needs-focused” proposal outlined the district’s highest priority needs and its associated costs. Administration was then directed to narrow in on the details of the facilities development proposal so the board can make a final decision on a bond referendum to be voted for on Election Day 2017.
Facility needs overview
Mounds View Supt. Chris Lennox outlined the district’s highest priority needs at each building level at the June 13 meeting.
The Mounds View Schools District Center recently relocated from Snail Lake Kindergarten Center to the old Ramsey County Library in Shoreview. The move intends to create additional space for instructional classrooms at Snail Lake through renovation of the previous administrative area. The district’s other kindergarten center, Pike Lake, also has additional classrooms high on the priority list.
At the elementary level, a total of 24 additional classrooms, expanded cafeteria and kitchens and improved parent pick-up and drop-off areas and bus loops are recommended at each of the district’s buildings.
At the middle school level for Highview and Chippewa, both schools need secured front entrances for visitors to enter the building through a main administrative office. There are also plans to improve the parent pick-up and drop-off and bus loop at Highview.
There are larger project plans for Irondale, Mounds View High and Edgewood Middle School. Improvements for both high schools include additional classrooms, renovations of undersized classrooms and hallways, and cafeteria and kitchen expansions. Other needs across the three schools include replacing or updating auditoriums and expansion and updates to gym spaces.
There is also a recommendation to replace the pool at Edgewood, as well as close and repurpose the Irondale pool.
“One of the things that this allows us to do is really focus our district’s pools at the middle schools,” Lennox said. With pools at Chippewa and Highview, Lennox said they would both be able to address curricular and co-curricular needs. Mounds View High currently uses Chippwa’s pool and the new Edgewood pool would be shared with Irondale.
At the recent meeting, Lennox affirmed that the $164.8 million project cost estimate for the bond is accurate. He reminded the board and the community that the task force’s original recommendations held potential costs that would be in excess of $250 million. This bond amount would provide funding for the highest priority needs for the district’s facilities previously discussed.
For the potential bond referendum, administration determined that the tax impact would be roughly less than $20 a month for a median value homeowner of $275,000. Lennox expanded on the affect to other residents, listing the estimated tax impact for other homeowners in the district:
• $100,000 = $4.50/month
• $200,000 = $11.25/month
• $300,000 = $18.08/month
• $400,000 = $24.92/month
Lennox also discussed a proposed project timeline if the bond is successful in November. He said design could begin immediately following the election.
“It is important to note that [this would be the time] where we would get community and stakeholder involvement,” Lennox said. “[The community and stakeholders] will be involved in what the facilities will look like and the design.” He noted that the district has worked with project architect Wold Architects before. The company frequently involves much community input into their projects.
Lennox said that construction could begin as early as next spring if the bond is successful. He added that larger projects will be phased over time and could take up to three years to complete, as they would be scheduled at times to least affect student learning.
The school board will make a final bond decision at the June 27 meeting. If approved, a bond referendum proposal would move forward to the Minnesota Department of Education for review and comment and added as a bond referendum for Election Day 2017.
Visit moundsviewschools.org/facilities for more information.