Plans for new facility taking shape
The Goodhue County Education Board continued to move closer to making a decision on long-range facilities planning goals Thursday night by narrowing the possible construction companies to one.
In a unanimous vote, the board eliminated Donlar Construction from consideration to construct a yet-to-be-determined building for the district.
Kraus Anderson – if the district does indeed decide to consolidate operations into a new building – will be the company to carry out the project.
Cheri Johnson, Goodhue County Education District executive director, said it’s important to focus on the reasons the district began looking at a new building in the first place. The district needs to find a way to use resources more wisely, she said, which currently operates from three separate locations.
The Goodhue County Education District would need approval from all five member school districts before construction of a new building begins.
Johnson said she plans to attend school board meetings during the next month to speak about GCED facility options.
After a year and a half of examining possibilities for the district’s long-range facilities planning, three potential outcomes remain for GCED’s future facilities. Theese examined in a report by Springsted Inc., an independent consulting firm.
The first option is to construct a new building near Red Wing High School on the land currently occupied by the tennis courts.
The second potential site for new construction is in Wastedo, south of Cannon Falls, and is currently occupied by a district building, which would have to be demolished before new construction would begin.
A third option would be to continue operating from the Jefferson, Wastedo and Riverside facilities. With this option comes the addition of trying to find a fourth site from which to operate since the district is out of space at existing locations, Johnson said.
According to the report, Red Wing is the better option for new sites when compared to Wastedo in most areas. These include land availability, site constraints, utilities, existing obstacles, potential hazard concerns, attendance and transportation, financing and tax impact, and shared services.
The areas of roads and infrastructure, staffing, operational considerations related to locations, and land costs were equal between Wastedo and Red Wing, Johnson told the board.
Cost of construction
The estimated cost to construct a new building is a little over $14 million for the proposed Red Wing location. The maximum financing available for the project is estimated at $13.2 million. That leaves a deficit of $840,000.
Total estimated costs for the Wastedo location are $14.8 million, leaving a deficit of $1.6 million.
Deferred maintenance for the three existing sites is estimated to be $10.8 million, Johnson said. The figure includes costs of bringing the buildings up to Americans with Disabilities Act standards plus regular building maintenance.
There are certainly financial advantages for consolidating to one building, but there are also advantages in consolidation for the students, Johnson said.
Each school day in 2012-13, GCED’s five member school districts incurred 1,447 miles transporting students.
The total reduction in number of miles per day for GCED is projected to be 435 for the Wastedo site and 541 for the Red Wing site.
The number of vehicles used by three of the five districts would decrease with a single site. The Goodhue and Kenyon-Wanamingo districts would keep the same number of vehicles currently used, the report said.
Additionally, Springsted concluded GCED would incur substantially greater costs transporting students to vocational training sites from the proposed Wastedo site than the Red Wing site.
Utilities and maintenance
Utilities and maintenance costs would also vary between the proposed construction sites.
These costs would approximately be $252,850 per year for the Red Wing site and $261,950 per year for Wastedo, according to the report.
The district’s three current sites yearly utility and operational costs are about $364,000.
If the GCED consolidates to a single building. the report states that staffing would decrease regardless of the site selected. The total change in staff is would result in an annual estimated savings of approximately $144,500.
Reduction in staff does not mean layoffs; that would mostly occur as a result of natural attrition, the report says.