Building projects in Windom Public School’s future?

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Survey sent to district residents to gauge public’s attitude

 

According to a report by the Worthington Daily Globe (dglobe.com), a survey has been sent to Windom Public School district residents to gauge the public’s attitude toward the building of a possible new elementary school, along with a variety of other potential building projects and educational facility needs.

Households and property owners within the school district should have received this past week – by mail or email – a 15-question survey. The survey, which is independently-conducted, asks residents whether or not – and as to what financial support – they would support a bond referendum. The survey closes on Friday, January 19.

The survey, which came with an explanation, asked those responding if they would support replacing the current Winfair Elementary with a new approximately $26.3 million facility for pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. In addition, survey questions ask if district residents would support funding a career and technical education center (for training in manufacturing, agriculture, construction and health care), estimated up to $3 million, a performing arts center up to $6 million or an expansion of the band choir classrooms, which is estimated up to $2.2 million,

This survey is the result of more than three years of research and planning.

In 2014, the district assessed the facilities of Highland, Winfair Elementary and the middle school. A consensus study was also later conducted, with projections that the district’s enrollment will continue to climb.

Following, two task forces, a 24-member facility task force and later a 13-member community-based task force met to evaluate and discuss the district’s facility needs.

Winfair Elementary was built in 1953 for students in kindergarten through fifth grade, and now houses kindergarten through third grade students

The middle school/high school building for grades six through 12, now has grades four through 12.

A temporary classroom (a detached structure on a foundation) has been added to Winfair for overflow classes and a computer lab. As well, storage space has been converted to counselor offices and a conference room.

On top of space issues, the district’s architect, in a facility assessment, has determined that the building’s plumbing, heating/ventilation and electrical are beyond service life and have become more expensive to operate due to age. Other repairs are necessary to get the building up to code, including updates to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

If a new elementary school would be built, the existing Winfair building could possibly be used by the Southwest West Central Cooperative (SWWC) for special education programs.

The district’s preschool and early childhood family education, for which the district now leases space for $84,000 per year at the Business Arts and Recreation Center (BARC), could move to a new elementary.

Another possibiliy for the preschool and early childhood programs would be to move to Highland School, which is currently used by the Southwest West Central Cooperative, if the SWWC moved to the Winfair building. This option would require approximately $3 million to update the Highland facility.

The other building projects, aside from one to replace Winfair, include an approximately $3 million addition of a career and technical education center to the middle/high school – as well as an expansion for the performing arts. That building project is presented with a pair of options – the building of an approximately $6 million performing arts center to be used by the school and the community – or expand the band and choir classrooms for approximately $2.2 million.

The school board will review the survey results at a 6:30 p.m. special meeting on Monday, January 29, at Windom City Hall. No action will be taken at that time. If the board takes formal action and progress toward a referendum, it would likely occur at the board’s regular February meeting. If, after consideration, the board continues forward with all or any of the projects, a May or August bond referendum vote could be held.

The school’s current K-12 student population is at 1,050 students.

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