Mid-Prairie Board considers project priorities
WELLMAN — Priorities, ranging from a $2.3 million middle school gym to a $7 million high school auditorium occupied the Mid-Prairie Board of Education Monday. During the work session, members reviewed 10 (from an original 22) building project possibilities, learned of two offers for existing buildings in Kalona and Wellman as well as of two major private donors to the gym and auditorium project, respectively.
The revised list from the Aug. 12 work session shows a drop in costs, largely by combining some facilities such as the Alternative Learning Center (ALC) with the Central Administration Office. There also could be savings of more than $1 million with the middle school gym by partnering with the City of Kalona. The partnership would see Kalona build a community center and Mid-Prairie build a gym (two separate buildings) with savings in infrastructure costs.
The single biggest project is a proposed $7 million high school auditorium that the board learned has at least one major promised private donation of $1 million.
Superintendent Mark Schneider told the board that there have been offers of a building in downtown Wellman for the central administrative office that could also accommodate the ALC and one in Kalona at Highway 1 and B Avenue (the former Hopf furniture store) for the Home School Assistance Program (HSAP). The latter would require repairs and remodeling.
Board members declined moving the central office into Wellman. In earlier meetings, the board had agreed to keep the office on the Highway 22 site across from the high school. At that time, the board members also planned to have the ALC in the new building that is now estimated at $875,000 (down from $1 million). Monday, that still seemed to be the plan.
Other key projects are middle school HVAC and window replacement, $2.8 million; Kalona Elementary classroom addition, $1.1 million; Washington Township HVAC replacement, $200,000 (down from $750,000); high school office relocation, $300,000 (from $500,000); Wellman Elementary kindergarten addition,$900,000; HSAP facility, $2.3 million (up from $1.5 million) and middle school gym, $2.3 million (down from $3.4 million).
During the discussion, Board President Jim Hussey noted that the plan was to provide something for every district center. Funding for the districtwide project will come from district funds, a bond issue, and the local option sales tax. Additionally, there is a possibility of grants. Currently, Mid-Prairie’s bonding maximum is $17.4 million, derived from its tax base.
In its regular session, the board:
• reviewed and acknowledged the district’s visions of “Maximizing Learning for All Students”; and
• decided that the nutrition director would be the head cook for all district kitchens. The position, noted Schneider, is a response to the school nutrition programs “becoming more complex.”