Schools closed, Distance learning through May 4

The Governor has ordered all Minnesota schools to remain closed with distance learning in place from March 30 through May 4 to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Board discusses future of district buildings

September 14, 2018

School board members had a discussion on Sept. 13 about the future of several facilities in the district - specifically Brookview Elementary, the Central Services Building and Oak Park. You can view the Financial and Facilities Consideration of Brookview and Oak Park presentation and watch the school board’s discussion online.

During the discussion board members considered the implications of a possible expansion of Brookview Elementary. District administration is recommending the board approve an expansion of the school to provide room for an additional 150 students. The need for expansion was first discussed at the time of the 2015 bond. While funding from the bond was available to build the school for 450 students, leaders at that time knew that eventually the school would need to grow. Right up to the start of construction, the school board and administration inquired about the possibility of adding on to the building, but the request was denied by the Department of Education because we had to occupy the building before it could be added on to. Development in the area around Brookview has happened more quickly than originally projected, and demographers are predicting the school will need room for at least 600 students by the start of the 2020 school year. The board will continue to have conversations about the expansion of Brookview in the coming months, with the ultimate goal of making a decision in December.

The board also engaged in conversation about the proposed move of Central Services staff to the former Oak Park school. The idea of moving Central Services to an existing building was first brought up by the Long Range Facilities Planning Task Force in 2014, and has been discussed in numerous public conversations as part of the Bond 2015 and the BOLD plan. During the recent board meeting, concerns were shared by several board members about the future need for space within the district, and questions were asked about how Oak Park might be used to address the need. While reopening Oak Park is not something the administration is recommending at this time, board members did discuss the possibility of reopening it in the future to address growth in the southern part of the district. The board voted to table the discussion of moving Central Services staff to Oak Park until they have the opportunity to further discuss the financial impact and consider future facility needs within the district.

The board will continue to have conversations about Oak Park’s future, as well as a possible expansion of Brookview, as they dig deeper into demographic and financial projections at upcoming meetings.