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WDC school board hears proposal for building bond

Wadena-Deer Creek Superintendent Lee Westrum introduced an $11,382,100 bond proposal to fund upgrades to the WDC Elementary School last Thursday at Robertson Theatre.

With members of the general public, the school board, school administration and representatives of the Wadena City Council present, Westrum ran down the list of needed upgrades at WDC Elementary.

The District 2155 board can approve upgrade changes totaling $9,304,810 without voter approval. The greatest amount of the board-approved money, $5,674,370, would be applied to heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) upgrades and better indoor air quality. Westrum said the building would not actually have air conditioning but a dehumidification process would make it more comfortable.

"This is a good deal," Westrum said, adding that the cost of tearing the existing elementary school down and replacing it would have a price tag of approximately $32 million.

The board requires voter approval for $5,203,980 of the upgrade costs and is tentatively planning to ask district voters for that amount Nov. 7.

Some parts of the city block-sized building and grounds date back to the 1930's. The last addition came in 1990's.

The school board will be meeting again at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Robertson Theatre to decide if the bond issue should be moved to the state for review.

"The elementary building is a good building but to move on and have a better building it has to be updated," Westrum said.

The board discussed an increase in the operating levy, a request which would also be placed on the Nov. 7 ballot. A resolution to combine polling places at Memorial Auditorium was adopted along with a resolution establishing an absentee ballot board for school elections.

Memberships with the Minnesota Rural Education Association (MREA) and Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA) were approved, along with contracts with Northern Pines Mental Health and Wadena County Public Health. The board approved but may revamp a long-term facilities maintenance plan.

Personnel items included the resignation of Administrative Assistant Jackie Becker, Kid's Club Para Ann Getchell and Dave Seaton of the M. State Food Service.

The board approved the hiring of Transportation Director Greg Kramer, English Instructor Brian Roberts (contingent on proper licensing), Zach Martin as junior high football coach and Kathy Widness for the food service staff.