Since January, staff members have been working in condensed work spaces at the District’s administrative office and maintenance building, as the Board of Education and Administration continue to research limited options for housing staff and materials.
In January, significant mold was found in the lower level of the district office for the second time in five years. All staff members and materials located in the lower level of the building were evacuated immediately. Additional testing was completed on the first floor of the building, which also tested positive for mold in several areas and was immediately remediated. Staff who were not able to be consolidated to the upper level due to space were dispersed to schools and other buildings, further compromising the operation of the district and the affected schools.
In addition to the ongoing issues at the district office, the maintenance and grounds building, located on the same land parcel, is collapsing and is no longer safe for our staff or equipment. Staff were removed from the facility last year. Due to the safety concerns, the building will be demolished this October.
In light of the ongoing workplace environmental conditions, the cost of rebuilding the entire lower level of the district office, which would exceed $1.5 million, and taking into consideration the long-term administrative and maintenance space needs, it was decided to pursue other possible locations for the district office and maintenance, grounds and storage facilities.
Space options were presented to the Board of Education at the May 15 work session, but after review of the options presented, including the possible sale of the current facility and parcel, the Administration was directed to continue to pursue other long-term options that meet capacity needs and financial requirements.
The Administration was set to present revised options to the Board of Education at the July 27 work session, but meeting time did not permit for an update. Since then, options have been provided through briefings to the Board of Education, which have now been narrowed to two possible leased locations in Lakeville. A fit test is being refined to assess space capacity of each site and to minimize the financial impact.
For over eight months, staff members have continued to work in condensed spaces, and our operations and productivity continue to be negatively impacted. As the leader of this organization, I am committed to maintaining a high-quality workforce, which includes proper, safe, and professional facilities. Unfortunately, this has proven to be very difficult to date. As we finalize our recommendations to the Board of Education, I remain hopeful we will find a solution soon.
Michael A. Baumann, Superintendent