The facilities at Forest Lake Area Schools face significant challenges, as was revealed by the 2012-2013 Facilities Task Force. The average age of the elementary school buildings is 50 years old, and all district schools - even those built within the past 30 years - are in need of significant repairs and upgrades.
The construction designs of the entrances to all our school buildings - elementary and secondary, most of which are 40 to 50 years old - are not sufficient to maintain proper safety and security standards. Fire and intercom systems in many buildings are antiquated. Roofs are in need of major repairs and replacements. The aquatic center facilities do not meet state high school league standards for competitive diving, and the high school's old varsity track has not been usable in more than a decade.
The members of the Facilities Task Force - community members, parents, teachers, community leaders and district staff - toured every building in the district from October 2012 to January 2013 to determine what needs existed. The task force recommended to the school board last spring that a public bond was needed to bring school buildings up to reasonable standards, and they further recommended that repairs and upgrades should be performed at every building in the district.
These are just a few items in the long list of improvements the task force determined that were drastically needed at district buildings:
In addition, the task force took note of the fact that bond interest rates are at an all-time low and construction costs are anticipated to increase significantly within the next five to 10 years. Given these factors, members of the task force strongly encouraged the school district to take immediate action to seek a public bond to finance these improvements.
During the spring and summer of 2013, the Forest Lake Area School Board - following the task force's advice - worked to formulate a plan that would incorporate these recommendations. In the end, the cost of the project was estimated to be $176 million.
On May 20, 2014, school district residents will have the opportunity to vote on a bond that would: make improvements to the safety and security of our schools; bring academic, athletic and fine arts facilities up to current standards; and make necessary repairs and upgrades to every school.
The following links will provide detailed information about the various elements of the school bond:
On behalf of the school board and all district staff, I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to you, the Forest Lake Area Schools community, for the strong support you have given our school district over the years.
It is important that you – as a taxpayer, voter and member of this community – have all of the critical facts at your disposal before casting your vote on May 20. This section of our website is intended to be a resource for you and to provide information regarding the bond proposal.
Feel free to contact me at (651) 982-8104 if you have any questions regarding the bond.
Again, thank you for your continued support of Forest Lake Area Schools, and I encourage each and every adult member of our community to get out and exercise your constitutional rights by voting on May 20.
Linda Madsen, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Forest Lake Area Schools