School board seeks citizens for input on building projects

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Advice would shape May levy referendum cost

With the forming of four committees representing diverse interests in the Benson Public Schools, the board of education is hoping to gather input that will provide it with direction for addressing building maintenance needs.

That direction would be the basis for going to the voters in May to seek approval for bonding to pay for the work.

The four committees will consist of school staff, landowners and farmers, business owners and community members at large.

“The Benson school board is seeking volunteers to serve on a school committee to analyze the school facilities,” the school board asks in a letter presented at its meeting Monday night. “Each committee will work independently with the school architect and superintendent to analyze the current facilities and make a facilities improvement recommendation to the board.

“This is a grass roots effort where the community will help shape the direction of the district facilities by assisting the school board,” the letter says. “The school board is moving with maintenance projects as recommended by the Facilities Task Force so that focus will be on facility needs, beginning with the auditorium.”

Volunteers would have to be able to attend meetings three consecutive nights – Monday, Jan. 29; Tuesday, Jan. 30; and Wednesday, Jan. 31. They also have to be residents of District 777.

The school staff meeting would be from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. in the BHS library.

The landowners and farmers group would meet from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the BHS library.

Business owners would meet in the BHS library from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Community members would meet in the library from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The school board is looking for families that have children in the school as well as district residents that don’t.

People willing to volunteer for a committee are asked to call the school at 320-843-2710 by 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 25.

Those attending the meetings would get an overview of the condition of each of the district’s buildings from architect Paul Youngquist of Architects Rego + Youngquist of St. Louis Park.

His firm has been working with the school district for several years now on assessing the maintenance needs of all the buildings with work including upgrades to heating and cooling systems, electrical systems, roofs, windows, cafeterias, gyms, auditoriums and educational spaces.

Initially, the committees will look at the Junior High Auditorium renovation project. Last April a two-foot by three-foot section of the ceiling fell on a seating area of the balcony resulting in the facility being shut down.

As a result, the school has had to move concerts, dance recitals, and plays to other facilities including the senior high gymnasium. Gym classes and athletic teams that used the Junior High Auditorium have also had to find other places for their activities....


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