Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer
Representatives of BG Consultants, who have been developing a facilities’ master plan for the district, provided the board with preliminary information. The consultants projected that in the next five years, the elementary level will need 23 additional classrooms, which could result in the need for an additional elementary school. The consultants suggested the option of creating K-5 elementary schools and moving 6th grade to the middle school level to alleviate some of the crowding at the elementary level. The middle schools could be added onto to accommodate the additional students, and the consultants also recommended adding a large music room to the middle schools that could double as a storm shelter. The consultants said that MHS East Campus is underutilized and could house twice as many students. They suggested locating administrative offices in MHS East Campus or to create an innovative campus for grades 9-12. For the next 5 years, the consultants projected $124 million in projects, which could be compacted, deferred, completed with capital outlay, or become a bond project. For the next 20 years, the consultants projected the district will need to invest $242 million in implementation and maintenance. Dave Colburn commented that a big item in the preliminary master plan is moving 6th grade to middle school versus building a new K-6 school, and he asked about the cost difference and which could be completed quicker. The consultants said they were finalizing numbers and were also looking at the option of constructing two elementary schools in lieu of moving 6th grade.
Jason Hilgers and Eddie Eastes with the City of Manhattan updated the board on the recreation and trails sales tax that will be on the November ballot. If approved by voters, $8.5 million would be spent at each middle school to add on 30,000-40,000 square foot facilities. Another $8.5 million would be spent on improvements at CiCo Park. Other funds would be dedicated to expanding trails and filling gaps in trails. Mr. Colburn commented that if the tax isn’t approved, the district would have to add gyms to the middle schools and use property taxes.
Eric Reid, Asst. Superintendent, provided a report on enrollment. The elementary level was up 106, middle school was up 33 students, and the high school level was up 73 students, for an overall increase of 212 students. Mr. Reid also reported on student transfers, and there were 63 “forced” transfers, which occurs when the school a student is supposed to attend is overcrowded and the student is moved to a less-crowded school.