After splitting into two sub-committees to review long-term facility maintenance and program enhancements, the full task force met in late December to consider next steps. In December, Director of Finance and Operations, DeeDee Kahring informed the task force that information on demographics was under revision. Davis Demographics was directed to update its April 2018 enrollment study at the district’s request. The update would be completed in January, which meant the facility task force needed to wait to make a recommendation on how to plan for enrollment growth.

In the interim, the task force gave to the School Board two recommendations that are not connected directly to enrollment growth. On Jan. 14, Kahring said the task force agreed the district needs an updated bus garage. (The district owns the garage and leases it to bus companies as part of its transportation contract.) There are multiple reasons for this decision, but the driving factor is that there are not enough garage stalls for all buses. Only about half of the 100 buses at the garage can be parked inside. The current site is about 6 acres and it should be at least 12 acres. The current facility does not have maintenance bay with an underground pit, which would make bus maintenance easier and more efficient. Kahring said the current location of the garage, on the north end of downtown Chaska, is desirable real estate and officials with the city of Chaska would agree with a decision to move it.

The second recommendation was about program enhancements. Examples of program enhancements are updating family and consumer science classrooms, redesigning kitchens/cafeterias and media centers. The committee determined this list of enhancements to be less essential than long-term maintenance like replacing roofs and resurfacing parking lots. Kahring said the task force understood the educational importance of many of these projects, but compared to items like keeping heating and air conditioning systems operational, the enhancements fell lower on the priority list. The task force recommended that program enhancements be considered when other maintenance or renovations/additions are planned at a school. That way, district and school staff can find efficient ways to make these updates, rather than doing them as stand-alone projects.

On Jan. 28, Kahring plans to present task force recommendations on how to manage enrollment growth and long-term facility maintenance projects.