2014 Facilities Bond Information




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.


TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATIONS

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:

  • Important safety and security upgrades, including the redesign of the front entrances of each of the buildings

  • The closing of the Central Learning Center, a building which has exceeded its expected lifespan, and moving all programs to the Southwest building

  • The merging of Century Junior High and Southwest Junior High into a single, unified school for all students in grades 7 - 8

  • Upgrades and expansions to Forest Lake Area High School in order to accommodate students in grades 9 - 12

  • Repairs and upgrades to the roof, heating and ventilation systems, and boilers in most 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.

SCHOOL BOARD ACTION

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.

Click here to see an informational video about the 2014 Facilities Bond.


DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT THE BOND

The following links will provide detailed information about the various elements of the school bond:

  • Safety & Security Upgrades: This page first shows the safety and security challenges that the district faces and the shortcoming of the current designs of the schools, and then the district's plan of action to address these needs and to provide students with a positive, safe atmosphere for learning in a modern and secure school building.

  • The 7 - 12 Secondary Campus Plan: This page gives an overview of the plan to combine Century and Southwest into a single junior high school, and to move all 9th grade students into the high school in order to provide them with the academic opportunities of a modern high school student.

  • Elementaries - A School-By-School Breakdown: If the bond is approved by voters, every elementary school in the district will gain important repairs to facilities and upgrades in safety and security to bring them up to reasonable standards. This page will provide a school-by-school breakdown of all of the changes that will occur if the bond is approved on May 20.

  • Project Timeline: This page outlines the timeline for the entire Facilties Project, starting from the approval process and including the design phases, construction phases and the financing plan. The entire project - broken up into several phases - is expected to take about three years, starting in the summer of 2015 and ending in the summer of 2018.

  • MN Dept. of Education - Review & Comment: This PDF document outlines the entire scope of the project, right down to specific details for each building. Click here to see a copy of the letter from the Dept. of Education approving the Review and Comment document.

  • Voting Information: This page will provides information about where to vote on May 20 and how to vote via absentee ballot.

  • Tax Impact to District Residents: There are often misconceptions about what the local school tax actually costs to homeowners and businesses. This page explains how the bond will affect school taxes.

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): This page provides answers to commonly-asked questions regarding the bond.

 



A Message from Superintendent Linda Madsen

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.

Sincerely,

Linda Madsen, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Forest Lake Area Schools