By Barbie Porter
The Frazee-Vergas School Board hosted a public meeting about the planned projects to renovate parking lots, replace the track that is beyond repair, create an elementary hands-on learning center and more.
The projects have yet to be bid, but the estimated cost is around $6.8 million.
The estimated tax impact for a house valued at $125,000 would be $83 per year; for a house valued at $175,000 the tax impact was estimated at $129 annually.
At the public hearing on Wednesday, June 30, the different funding options were reviewed for each project.
Parking lot projects estimated to cost about $3 million
An abatement bond would provide funding for the parking lot changes for an estimated $3.01 million.
The district has a parking lot along Second Street NW, and that would see some changes. The project would remove the storage building near the corner of the street. Staff parking would remain in the area, and a parent drop-off and pick-up area would be established. Within the loop, an estimated eight parking spaces could be created.
The parking lot would also be redesigned with bus service in mind. Fifteen spaces for busses would be available, and for after school events the space would provide 50 parking pads.
The district would also add a student and event parking lot that would be accessed on North River Drive. The parking spaces available would be about 100. The newly constructed parking lot would be connected to the track and football field, which is slated to be shifted from facing west/east to north/south.
The high school parking lot projects were estimated to cost $1.52 million.
The parking lot at the elementary is also set to be renovated. The project would redesign the current parking lot to have a new bus loading zone. Currently, the busses line up on Hickory Avenue.
In front of the main entrance the green space would be replaced with additional parking, including a parent drop off loop. Inside the loop would be additional parking pads.
The elementary parking lot project was estimated to cost $895,000.
The Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) is also slated to get its own parking lot with access from the northerly part of the building.
The ECFE parking lot projects were estimated to cost $595,000.
All parking lot project work was slated between April and August 2022.
Football field and track to be shifted to face north/south
A lease levy would be used to build a new track and football field complex. The estimated total of the project is $1.77 million and construction would tentatively be done between April and July of 2022.
The track would be enlarged from the current five lanes to eight lanes, thus making the district viable to host competitive events. The football field would remain in the center of the track. The complex would be shifted to face north/south, and in doing so the junior varsity baseball field would need to be relocated. The field relocation location would be next to the varsity field.
The track and field complex has more than just the athletic fields to consider. The renovation project also addressed updating the bleachers, press box, concession stand and bathrooms as well as the lights for the football field.
The funding for this portion of the remodeling project is estimated at $896,000 and Long-Term Facility Maintenance (LTFM) bonding would be utilized.
Superintendent Terry Karger said utilizing LTFM bonding will provide tax relief to those with agricultural land. He said there is a credit in place that is slated to increase to 60 percent next year. Karger said those with ag land will see a “slight decrease for taxes” and the agricultural land credit is done automatically, with no application to be filed to receive it.
The breakdown of the expenses were estimated as follows: $415,000 for the lights at the football field; $165,000 for bleachers; $150,000 for a 270-square-foot press box and $166,000 for a combination building that would provide concessions and bathroom facilities, similar to the one offered at the baseball fields.
Construction on these projects are tentatively set for April through July of 2022.
Indoor quality, fire safety at high school to be addressed
An indoor air quality bond would be utilized to make update tot he high school’s indoor air quality, ventilation and fire suppression systems.
The estimated cost for the project is $2.02 million. Karger said the update would provide all new air handling units and duct work, as well as the necessary controls. The ceilings would also be replaced.
The fire protection system and classroom doors for two wings at the high school would be updated.
Construction is tentatively set for June 2022.
Elementary to get STEAM room
The elementary learning center would have no tax impact as grant dollars are helping provide the district with a STEAM classroom. The acronym STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The subjects are taught with more hands-on methods and encourage critical thinking.
Karger said the room would be utilized during the school day by teachers and their classrooms, and after school by targeted services. He requested ideas on how the room should be designed.
The project time line for the STEAM room addition, which is budgeted to cost $315,000, is for June 2022.