Middle and high school portion of bond referendum to top $218 million
By Joseph Back
It’s a $462 million question, to be decided August 9 by South Washington County voters living within Independent School District (ISD) 833. What question, you might ask?
Why the bond referendum, to fund or not to fund the long-range facilities plan as currently envisioned by South Washington County Schools, otherwise known as ISD 833.
To that end, and in the interest of an informed citizenry, the Journal has been sharing information on the long-range facilities plan with readers so that they might be prepared and informed when heading to the polls. Should the August 9 bond referendum fail to secure sufficient votes, the next chance for a plan to come before residents would be in February 2023.
This week then we continue our series from last week on elementary schools,with a look at the numbers and projects for middle and high school students in the current long-range facilities plan. The materials cited can be found under the “Resources Toolkit” at https://www. sowashco.org/facilityplanning, with an opposing view shared at www.demandabetterplan. com. With that, it’s into the middle and high school numbers!
Starting out with middle schools, anticipated needs for the next ten years include:
See REFERENDUM Page 2
An image from the school district’s 10-year facilities package showing current overcrowding in the Woodbury High School cafeteria. Image sourced at https://www.sowashco.org/facilityplanning#package. REFERENDUM
FROM PAGE 1
• Adequate classroom space for new students due to the significant growth ISD 833 is experiencing
• Cafeteria size for the number of students
• Traffic and parking areas So how do the plans stack up to the need for middle schools?
First up is Cottage Grove Middle School. With construction of a classroom addition and secure front entry, Cottage Grove Middle School is due to see $10,131,414 for improvements from the referendum, based on cost estimates submitted to the state. With a current capacity of 1,208 and a proposed capacity of 1,390 for student population, the 10-year projection is for 1,182 students, or 85 percent of proposed capacity, as opposed to 97 percent capacity in 10 years if nothing is done.
Following on Cottage Grove is Lake Middle School. With a classroom addition, pool bleachers, and a secure front entry in plans for Lake if the bond referendum passes, improvements are estimated to cost $11,101,267.
As to student numbers at Lake, they currently stand at 1,188, projected to become 1,370 in 10 years. With a projected 10-year growth of the student population to 1,281 students, an addition will put Lake at 93.5 percent capacity in 10 years, as opposed to 93 students over if left at its present capacity, based on district projections.
Moving from Lake to Oltman Middle School, construction of a classroom addition and cafeteria expansion are planned if the referendum passes. Projected to cost $25,229,164 of the $462 million total bond, Oltman will see a sizable addition, with capacity increased to 1,385 students from a current capacity of 990. With 1,312 students projected for Oltman in 10 years, the addition will put the middle school at 95 percent capacity, as opposed to overflowing if nothing is done based on current district projections.
Closing out the middle school report with Woodbury, the August 9 bond referendum calls for $12,273,995 in improvements, with capacity raised from 1,188 students to 1,398 for the 10-year plan, putting Woodbury Middle at 96 percent capacity after accounting for a projected student increase to 1,344 over the same time period.
All told, the middle school portion of the referendum is estimated to cost the district $58.735 million, with a boost in capacity of 969 seats to put the middle schools at a projected overall capacity of 92 percent, after improvements are made.
So what about the high schools?
All told, the three sites of East Ridge, Park High, and Woodbury, along with the South Washington County Alternative High School, would get $159,619,066 for improvements under the current long-range facilities plan. As to the Alternative High School, that would entail $14,725,035 to convert Crestview Elementary into an Alternative High School, the alternative school currently sharing space with the District Program Center.
As to East Ridge, the improvements proposed in the August 9 bond referendum, are as follows:
• Construction of a new classroom addition
• A cafeteria expansion
• Expansion of Biomed, CTE, STEM and Robotics Spaces
• Creation of a Flexible Multipurpose Online Learning Space, and
• Bus lot revisions to accommodate additions All told, the estimated price tag for the above at East Ridge is $45,309,965. Two schools covered and two to go.
Shifting to Park high, the long-range facilities plan calls for the following improvements, at an overall estimated price tag of $49,497,432:
• Construction of a new cafeteria and kitchen • Construction of a new classroom wing
• Expansion and renovation of Biomed, CTE. STEM and Robotics spaces
• Conversion of Existing Space into Additional Science Classrooms
• Creation of a flexible Multipurpose Online Learning Space, and
• Redesign of complete Site Plan, parking lot, and service roads.
Last but not least on our review of the details in the August 9 bond referendum, is Woodbury High.
Planned for Woodbury High if the $462 million bond referendum passes and estimated to cost a combined total of $50,086,634, are the following:
• Construction of a new cafeteria and kitchen
• Construction of a new secure entry and administration area
• Construction of a new classroom addition
• Renovation of special education classrooms
• Expansion and renovation of Biomed, CTE, STEM and Robotics Spaces
• Renovation of current kitchen and lounge areas into student support services
• Renovation and consolidation of athletic locker rooms
• Conversion of existing Space into Additional Science Classrooms
• Creation of a Flexible Multipurpose Online Learning Space
• Redesign of Complete Site Plan, Parking Lot and Service Roads With elementary projected to cost $194,914,223, plus the middle and high school together projected to come out at $218,349,906, the final $47.54 million of the proposed $462 million overall bond referendum will be covered next week, relating in part to support services and land purchase for further expansion, along with the conversion of Central Park at Woodbury to house SoWash-Co Online.
Pictured below are the prospective project footprints for each of the middle and high school projects up for funding in the August 9 bond referendum. Red represents new construction, pink represents future construction, gray the asphalt and concrete, green athletic and green space construction, blue stormwater pond construction, and yellow playground relocation. All images are from the district’s submission to the Minnesota Department of Education.