Facility Task Force
Beginning in October, a task force began reviewing information from facility and enrollment studies conducted by the district in early 2018. The group will prioritize needs for essential school maintenance and new construction required to match projected enrollment growth. In early 2019, the task force will make recommendations to the school board. In the spring, the board will go through the process to decide what to ask of the public in a referendum in November 2019.
Just like homeowners who review and prioritize their maintenance projects, a district task force of parents, teachers, school board members and district staff is doing the same. The facility task force is meeting now to look at our district to-do list in detail and come up with a plan that will be shared with the School Board.
Jan. 28 Update & Part 2 Recommendations
After four months of study, the district’s Facility Task Force recommended the School Board consider a $110.5 million bond referendum in November 2019 for deferred maintenance, a new school and a new bus garage. No decisions have been made at this time. District leaders will seek community input through a parent focus group, a community survey and a public listening session on March 11. After that, the School Board will consider the input, ask for administrative recommendations and aim for a June decision about a referendum request.
Jan. 14 Update & Part 1 Recommendations
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.
Dec. 6 Update
In November, members of the facility task force split into two subcommittees. One subcommittee began to review and prioritize deferred maintenance projects. Deferred maintenance projects are essential long-term maintenance such as replacement of roofs, updating heating/air-conditioning/ventilation systems, ect. The other group reviewed program enhancements, which are construction or renovation projects identified by principals related to delivery of education.
DeeDee Kahring, director of finance and operations, who leads the task force, said that an updated demographics study by Davis Demographics should be completed in a few weeks. It will be presented to the School Board in January.
Nov. 6 Update
The task force met twice in October. It reviewed the demographic and facility reports that were presented to the School Board earlier this year. Members were introduced to the advisors who will help them understand the scope of maintenance issues and priorities. They are Wold Architect, engineering firm Kargus-Faulconbridge Inc., and construction company Kraus-Anderson. Each of these firms were selected by the district through a competitive interview process. Joe McGough, former (and now interim) buildings and grounds manager, also has been hired by the district. He has extensive knowledge and history of the facilities in Eastern Carver County Schools.
Now that baseline information has been developed, the task force will begin the process of identifying which of the $150 million maintenance projects are critical and prioritized.
An enrollment projection conducted in the spring by Davis Demographics indicated upwards of 1,000 additional students in the next four years. Eastern Carver County Schools monitors enrollment closely and will revise this projection at least once a year. Carver Elementary, which opened in fall of 2017, was projected to open with 594 students and now has 659. Two years ago, when the district was planning attendance boundaries for Carver Elementary, we estimated the school would reach capacity by 2020-21. Based on housing patterns, that could happen by fall of 2019. Enrollment is expected to grow fastest in Carver and Chaska, but Victoria continues to approve new housing developments. Chanhassen also will have many new single-family housing as a result of the sale of Prince’s property.
While Eastern Carver County Schools has celebrated the opening of new facilities like Carver Elementary and the Athletic Center, five of the 16 schools operated by the district are at least 40 years old. This year, the district conducted a comprehensive facility study led by Kraus-Anderson Construction Co. The purpose was to understand maintenance needs over the next 10 years. Schools receive regular maintenance every year. Like a home, expensive work for a school, such as replacing a roof, can be put off a few years as long as the roof isn’t failing. The facility study identified many of these deferred maintenance issues. They are especially evident in our older schools. Deferred maintenance needs include inefficient heating and ventilation systems, cracked and worn foundations, old roofs, eroded flooring, and more. Over the next 10 years, the cost estimate for every long-term maintenance issue is $150 million.
Task Force Membership
Task force members are parents, community members and school board members, supported by district administration and specialists hired by the district.
Amy LaDue, assistant superintendent for teaching & learning
Amy Logue, school board
Beth Holm, principal
Charles Witcombe, teacher
Chris Hentges, supervisor for teaching & learning
David Brecht, student services administrator
Danielle Jorgensen, parent
Deann Haugen, parent
DeeDee Kahring, director of finance and operations
Dick Ungar, principal
Jeremy Rock, parent
Joe McGough, interim building & grounds manager
Juan Alvarez, high school student
Kevin Knauss, parent
Madison Stokesbary, high school student
Missy Herzog, parent
Nate Slinde, principal
Ron Meyer, school board
Note: Four employees and two school board representatives also are parents of students enrolled in Eastern Carver County Schools
John Huenink, Kraus-Anderson
Sal Bagley, Wold Architects
Vaughn Dierks, Wold Architects
Maria Kennedy, Wold Architects
Randy Christenson, Karges-Faulconbridge Inc.
Maria Pfeffer, Karges-Faulconbridge Inc.
James Sommer, Karges-Faulconbridge Inc.
School Board Charge Statement to the Facility Task Force
Approved Sept. 24, 2018
As we have reviewed the information presented, and understand the financial and time considerations needed, we ask the Facility Task Force to present its recommendations to us no later than the January 14th work session.
The school board feels very fortunate to have outstanding instructional spaces for all of our students across the district. The goal of the task force is to provide recommendations that will preserve and maintain learning spaces for years to come and serve a student population that is projected to grow by 1,000 students in four years. The scope of current facility needs is large and will require both additional funding and prioritization to accomplish. The school board’s top concerns are matching student enrollment with school capacity, and ensuring safe, secure and well-maintained facilities.
Once a district task force is convened to review facility needs, recommendations must be developed to include:
- A recommendation for additional classroom space in order to meet projected student enrollment growth as a result of our demographic and housing patterns; including options for the school board to consider if actual enrollment is higher or lower than estimated.
- Prioritized recommendations to enhance existing facilities over the next five years based on improving learning opportunities for all students.
- A prioritized list of deferred maintenance projects to ensure the safe and effective operation of existing district facilities for the next ten years.
- Consideration of total tax implication, current bonded debt, debt limits, and operational costs.
Eastern Carver County Schools Board of Education