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Voters say ‘Yes’ to school referendum

After a lengthy process involving a community task force and multiple meetings centered on building needs, Red Wing residents approved the school district’s $22.615 million bond request Tuesday.

“I am relieved that the question passed and grateful to community members for their support,” said Supt. Karsten Anderson. “The positive outcome resulted from involving community members in the decision-making process and focusing on the most important areas of concern.”

The unofficial results have 1,784 votes in favor – approximately 65 percent – and 944 votes against – 35 percent. Immediate steps following the approval include putting together requests for proposal for professional services, which includes architecture, mechanical, electrical and civil engineers. Once those are in place, Johnson said, they can begin design work.

“We want it designed and engineered so we know it works when we’re done,” said Kevin Johnson, RWPS director of buildings, grounds and technology.

Johnson said he’s received some questions as to why the district didn’t have the projects engineered before asking the voters for money so the district would know exactly how much each project would cost. Johnson said school districts run a risk of paying for engineering and design work before passage of a referendum. If the design work is done in advance and the referendum failed, the district could be out thousands of dollars with no way to recoup the costs.

Johnson said the only item the district is planning on addressing this summer is the dehumidification system at the Twin Bluff Middle School pool.

Other possible projects this summer include:

•Red Wing High School outside air control

•Irrigation well replacement

•TBMS cellphone booster

•TBMS PA/bell system

Johnson said while these projects are possible, there are a lot of factors — codes, permitting, materials lead-time, contractor workload to name a few — that must fall into place to get these projects done on a short timeline.

The majority of the work will most likely be done over the course of the following two summers, once the projects have been engineered and the district has gone out for bids, which will most likely be sometime in January or February, Johnson said.

Various maintenance, safety and security, accessibility and technology infrastructure projects will be addressed with the funds.

General list of work by building:

Colvill Family Center

Built in 1937

•Secure access to building

•Replace boiler and update mechanical controls

•Exterior envelope repairs

•Remove asbestos and replace impacted flooring

Sunnyside Elementary

Built in 1956

with subsequent additions

•Safety, security and accessibility needs

•Mechanical system infrastructure upgrades

•Replace portion of roof

•Exterior envelope repairs

•Reconstruct parking lot and drop-off

Twin Bluff Middle School

Built in 1971

•Safety, security, and accessibility needs

•Mechanical system infrastructure upgrades

•Replace portion of roof

•Exterior envelope repairs

•Reconstruct parking lots and entrances

•Replace lockers, equipment, and pool filter

•Address plumbing issues throughout building

Burnside Elementary

Built in 1994

•Secure entrance and access to building

•Mechanical system infrastructure upgrades

•Exterior envelope repairs

Red Wing High School

Built in 1995

•Safety, security, and accessibility needs

•Mechanical systems infrastructure upgrades

•Replace roof

•Exterior envelope repairs

•Reconstruct student parking lots

•Replace irrigation well


•Upgrade and add security cameras and card access system

•Upgrade technology and communications infrastructure

•Replace ice resurfacer

•Address other interior and exterior maintenance needs

John R. Russett

John Russett is a regional reporter for RiverTown Multimedia, covering a variety of issues facing RiverTown communities. Previously, he worked at the Red Wing Republican Eagle, where he reported on education as well as crime and courts. 

You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnRyanRussett


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