Facilities Task Force Presents Recommendations

Following a task force presentation June 19 on recommendations to address and prioritize the district’s facility needs, the Lakeville Area Public Schools Board of Education is expressing interest in conducting a public opinion survey to gather input from residents including their satisfaction with the district and future needs, including facility recommendations.

The Long Term Facilities Task Force, which was established in 2016 to develop a 10-year facility plan, reconvened in February to develop recommendations for how to address and prioritize the many facility needs within the district given the capacity issues facing Lakeville Area schools as well as the current condition of the Area Learning Center and the district’s administrative office.

Addressing capacity issues

To address the many schools currently operating at or above capacity across the district, the task force recommended strategic additions and school boundary adjustments. The addition of one classroom per grade level is recommended at up to four elementary schools, potentially including Lake Marion, Cherry View, Eastview and Christina Huddleston. Additions were also recommended for all middle schools in order to address large class sizes like at Century, which has been operating at over 100 percent capacity for the past three years.

In discussion with task force facilitator Vaughn Dierks of Wold Architects & Engineers and Superintendent Michael Baumann, School Board members expressed support for the task force’s recommendations as serving the needs of the growing Lakeville Area community.

Other priority items identified by the task force included safety and security improvements, programming needs and a facility maintenance allowance.

Absolutely Must Do

Estimate

Prioritized Running Total

Capacity Additions

$25-30M

$25-30M

Need To Do

   

Security Improvements

$10M

$35-40M

Programming:

  • Multipurpose Facility (ALC/Early Childhood/DO)
  • Gyms (MMS, OLE)
  • Special Education Space Needs

$35M

$4-5M

$5-6M

$70-75M

$75-80M

$80-85M

Maintenance Allowance

$30M

$110-115M

Makes Sense To Do

   

Early Childhood Expansion

Incl.

Incl.

Pool At Century
Middle School

$10M

$120-125M

New District Office

Incl.

Incl.

New Maintenance/Grounds Building

$8M

$128-133M

Would Like To Do

   

High School Weight Room Additions

$2-3M

$130-136M

Synthetic Fields At
Both High Schools

$3M

$133-139M

Strategic Alignment Items

TBD

TBD

 

Above: Top priorities identified by the District 194 Long Term Facilities Task Force. All estimates are preliminary.

Ensuring safer schools

Security improvements are recommended in order to continue to address the growing safety concerns of the world we live in today. Under the advisement of the district’s Security Emergency Management Committee, the task force recommended altering building entrances in order to provide better sightlines and to direct visitors to the main offices. It also recommended compartmentalizing areas of the schools for lockdown and creating hardened safe rooms.

In 2015, voters approved a capital levy which enhanced safety and security measures throughout the district by $100,000 per year for 10 years. Access Control Systems (ACS) were installed at all elementary schools, middle schools, community education buildings and the district’s administrative office to track and monitor building visitors. The capital funding supports improved internal and external security measures such as security cameras as well as overall ACS maintenance. Even with this dedicated funding source, additional dollars are needed to further enhance security and safety measures district wide.

Meeting growing needs

Facility upgrades are also recommended district wide for special education and early childhood education as well as at the Lakeville Area Learning Center, McGuire Middle School and Impact Academy at Orchard Lake.

The number of students enrolled in special education programming and early childhood programming continues to steadily grow. Additional space is needed in order to ensure sufficient and appropriate classroom space district wide.

At the Area Learning Center (ALC), the building is structurally and functionally no longer meeting the needs of the program. After receiving a Facilities Condition Index (FCI) rating of 77, Wold Architects & Engineers has determined the current state of the ALC would cost more to remodel and expand than to relocate the program entirely. The FCI ratings compare the cost of renovating and improving a facility to the cost of building new. When a building is given a rating greater than 60, the State of Minnesota recommends to no longer put resources towards maintaining the facility and consider replacement.

Gym/cafeteria additions are recommended at McGuire Middle School and Impact Academy at Orchard Lake in order to address capacity issues.

At the same time the Board of Education asked the administration to reconvene the long term facilities task force, they also created a pool committee to undertake a preliminary design concept for a pool at Century Middle School in order to develop a preliminary cost estimate for the work.

Long Term Facilities Task Force committee member Luke Hellier, who is also a District 194 parent and Lakeville City Council member said, “striving to meet the needs of all students is critical for the success of our children. By providing facilities that are equitable in the opportunities that they provide for all Lakeville students ensures a level playing field for kids to learn and grow.”

Providing long-term integrity district wide

All but two of the district buildings are now over 20 years old, and the district is facing large and costly facility maintenance projects including roofs, mechanical and plumbing system upgrades, window replacements, and more. Last year, the Board of Education approved selling an additional $2 million in bonds to increase the funding for annual deferred maintenance construction projects. However, there are multiple projects that exceed $5 million each and need to be completed within the next few years. The task force recommended a one-time allocation of $30 million for the completion of these major projects so that the annual maintenance fund can continue to service the ongoing needs district wide, positioning the district for better upkeep of its facilities long term.

Unforeseen maintenance and ongoing capacity issues are significant at the district’s administrative office as well. In January, mold was discovered in the occupied basement level office spaces, and all employees and materials needed to be removed for safety and health reasons. After the mold abatement in the lower level was completed for the second time in five years, additional testing was done on the first floor of the building, which also tested positive for mold in some areas. In light of these ongoing workplace environmental conditions, the costs of rebuilding the lower level, which would exceed $1.5 million, and taking into consideration the long-term administrative space needs, it was decided to pursue other possible locations.

The current 10,000 square foot building has 5,000 finished and occupied square feet and an FCI rating of 91. The assessed space needs for a district administrative space total 25,000 square feet and would alleviate space issues in schools where staff is currently being housed. Until a solution is in place, district administrative staff have been dispersed to other buildings and schools and/or consolidated in the upper level in a manner that is not conducive to meeting long-term operational needs.

District office space options were presented to the Board of Education at the May 15 work session. However, after review and consideration of the options presented including the possible sale of the current facility, the administration was directed to continue to pursue other long-term options that meet the capacity needs and financial requirements.

In addition to the ongoing issues at the district’s administrative office, the 1930s-built grounds and maintenance building, on the same parcel of land as the administrative office, is collapsing. This fall, the building will be demolished as it is no longer safe for staff or equipment. Because the district operates an internal maintenance and grounds department to service its 17 buildings and 565 acres, a short-term and long-term solution is required for operational needs. The task force has discussed a possible long-term partnership at the City of Lakeville’s central maintenance facility, located off of Cedar Avenue and Dodd Road, in the expansion of the city’s facility.   

Lakeville community member and Long Term Facilities Task Force member Josh Kutzler said, “the review by the committee when presented with current and updated enrollment numbers led us to the decision that we must address capacity issues at elementary schools and middle schools. We also determined that there are still major security issues that have been identified and solutions developed but [the district] lacks the funding to implement [these measures], and the long term maintenance cost have been outpacing the allocated budget.    

“The task force took the running list of priorities identified and developed a list of preliminary estimates. […] The board will need to look at how the district would implement these prioritized items and what the strategy might be. It might not just simply mean a referendum. It might represent a few different options as far as approach,” Vaughn Dierks of Wold Architects & Engineers said. “If timing allows, the task force recommends undertaking a public survey pool to determine tax capacity and perception, and undertaking a capital building referendum to address the capacity, security and facilities issues in the district.”

Board members Terry Lind and Judy Keliher, both members of the Long Term Facilities Task Force, expressed support for the work of the task force and advocated for additional community input.

“If we do a public survey poll, I’d like to see the community’s priorities, because that is who we serve,” Board of Education Vice Chair Terry Lind said.

The task force’s recommendations bring priorities and a possible implementation plan to the most pressing needs of the 10-year facility master plan, presented to the Board of Education in January 2017. Following the presentation on June 19, the Board will continue to work with the administration to discuss funding strategies, implementation next steps and a possible public opinion survey to gather critical input from the Lakeville Area community.

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