What was the process?

What was the process?

The district began evaluating its facilities in late 2017 through the services of a local architecture and engineering firm. The goal was to provide information to district administration and the school board to use for future facilities planning. Widseth Smith Nolting provided civil, architectural, structural, mechanical, and electrical analysis of the two buildings and outlined deficiencies in each area.

Facility Studies
Deficiencies were listed and assigned a priority for correction along with an estimated cost for correction. This process set the basis for administration and the school board to plan a strategic process for implementing district-wide improvements. The facility studies were completed in November 2017 and June 2018 respectively and identified preliminary cost estimates, timelines and prioritized as Immediate, 5-year or 10-year.

Community Task-Force
To assist the board in prioritizing corrections and improvements needed throughout the district, a community task force of around 60 members was assembled that represented a diverse cross-section of the community. This group was instrumental in establishing goals throughout the process and provided feedback on the final plan.

Criteria and Core Principles
On November 27, 2018, the architects met with the community task force and reviewed the facilities evaluation studies.  The architects walked the group through an exercise to pinpoint community identified priorities and needs. From this meeting came the four core principles:
1. Facilities maintenance
2. Maximize space utilization
3. Modernize learning environments
4. Outdoor space improvements 

Using these themes, the architects then met with district administrators and department heads, as well as staff and students, to identify specific areas of want or need.

The School Board then had a series of Board workshops to review the things identified from the meetings with administrators, staff and students, and prioritized the list into three groups - green, yellow and red. Like a stop light, green items were approved to be included and red items were determined to be not needed. Yellow items were compiled and left to the end and were eventually re-prioritized to fit within the budget.

Both the community task force and the school board used two major criteria, in addition to the four core principles, to determine the projects to be included in the referendum. They were: 1. to update the highest priority facility needs and 2. to keep taxes stable or a small increase or decrease. As a result, the list of identified projects to be incorporated in the referendum was trimmed back to a level that essentially keeps taxes stable.

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