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School Board weighs in on GCED facilities planning

Cherie Johnson, Goodhue County Education District director, presented the Red Wing School Board with information on plans for GCED facilities.

Johnson said the GCED has been working on long-range planning for close to two years.

Red Wing School Board Treasurer Paul Kramp, who is also a member of the Goodhue County Education Board, said if GCED doesn’t consolidate to one building it will lose a lot of efficiency.

Shying away from a new building might be cheaper in the short term, he said, but it will be more expensive in the long run.

The cost to stay with the current sites occupied by GCED would be $17.65 million, Johnson said, when taking into account the $10.8 million in deferred maintenance, the staffing cost savings lost at $3.6 million, the operational costs savings lost at $2.5 million, and the lease of additional space at $750,000.

Johnson said the new building must be approved by all five member districts as well as the GCED before moving ahead with any building plans.

School Board member Mark Ryan asked what the potential differences in cost would be between the proposed Wastedo and Red Wing sites.

Johnson said one of the largest differences would be the cost of transportation, considering close to 50 percent of GCED students are from Red Wing.

Ultimately, however, all school districts would come out ahead if the GCED consolidates to one building, she said.

The new building could be built in approximately 12 months, Johnson said, and, ideally, the GCED would be in a new building by fall 2015.

However, Johnson said, it’s important to take the appropriate amount of time with a decision of this magnitude.

“You want to do it right,” she said. “You want to make sure you’ve explored all of your options and answered all of the questions that are out there.”

Johnson said she has spoken to three of the five member districts, including Red Wing and hopes to have all presentations finished before the GCED Board meets on Dec. 19.

If the GCED Board is ready to pass a resolution regarding the facilities planning they will do so at the Dec. 19 meeting, Johnson said.

“Once they pass a resolution I will then come back to each of the member districts’ boards for approval of that resolution,” she said. “There was no statute that said we needed to do it that way, but we felt very strongly that we did want district buy-in in this decision.”

If all member districts don’t agree Johnson said the GCED will need to start on some of the deferred maintenance at their current buildings.

“We have some real issue facing us,” she said.

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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