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WDC takes closer look at facility upgrades totaling $7.2 million

The ideas range from upgrading sports facilities to improving parking and added comforts for high school students.

WDC Stands.JPG
A longtime fixture at the heart of many football and track and field events is the home bleachers. They are aging and the wooden structure is one on a list to be replaced among other long term facility upgrade ideas.
Michael Johnson / Pioneer Journal
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WADENA — While still in discussion phases, the Wadena-Deer Creek School Board is getting a better grasp on future possible updates to the school facilities following the release of a detailed report in June from ICS, a consulting firm the school is working with on planning these projects.

The list of projects added up to about $7.2 million and is largely focused on sports related infrastructure. They included mostly maintenance projects, but some were new additions to the grounds that the district could pay for largely without needing to pass a referendum.

Items as presented include:

Track surface: The existing track surface is at or beyond its life expectancy. The proposed solution is to remove and replace the existing surface, including the high jump, long jump and pole vault areas. Cost: $502,000

Track and field/football lighting: Current lights are inefficient and outdated. They are placed on wooden poles. A solution was to replace them with metal poles and add new LED lighting. Cost: $452,000

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Football bleachers: Bleachers are old wooden seating and steps. Not ADA compliant. It’s proposed to replace this structure with a 700-seat grandstand and a new press box. The visitor seating would include a 300 seat bleacher. Both would have a concrete base and ramping. Cost: Home $607,800; visitor: $98,700.

Baseball bleacher: Existing bleacher is old, not ADA compliant and includes wood seating and steps. It’s proposed to replace it with a 150 seat covered bleacher with a new concrete base and accessibility. Cost: $97,000

Softball bleachers: These are old, not ADA compliant, with wood seating and steps. A proposal would replace this with a 150 seat, covered bleacher with a concrete base and ramping. Cost: $97,000.

Concession stand and storage: Current concessions stand is undersized. Plan is to expand or remodel to code. They could build a cold storage shed to make up for lost space at the concessions stand and under the home bleachers. Cost: Concessions stand work, $257,400; new cold storage $121,600.

WDC Packet Binder3 by Michael Johnson on Scribd

Outdoor fencing: For about $362,000 the school could replace old rusting fencing around the baseball field, and two softball fields. The new fence would be black vinyl coated. Other plans were to move some sprinklers to avoid water spray on the fence.

Tennis courts: Old surface on the seven court area needs replacement. Options were to replace the existing or resurface the existing. Resurface cost was $93,000, while replacement cost is $664,600. New fencing is also mentioned in the plan.

CTE space: The existing space would grow with a remodel and 3,000 square foot addition off the east side of the school towards the greenhouse. Cost: $1.96 million.

High school parking lot and parent loop: They identified a need for additional parking and that the existing loop is congested. A solution was to add a 100 stall parking lot to the west and move the parent pick-up/drop-off to the east. Cost $1.35 million. This topic had support from board member Ryan Damlo who called the current loop “absolute nonsense.” Board member Kent Schmidt was favorable to a drop off area that was one way only as opposed to two-way traffic.

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High school awning: The existing patio area has no covering. Proposal is to add either permanent attached structure or free-standing metal covering. Cost: Metal cover at 1,500 square feet, $75,000. Or attached awning, with 2,250 square feet, $353,900.

Playgrounds: Old playgrounds on the west side of the elementary were identified as in need of replacement. The wood chip base was also considered for replacement for ADA compliance. The playground equipment at M-State was also considered in this proposal. A proposal is to replace the equipment and base. Cost: At the elementary this would cost $364,700 and $158,700 at M-State.

Paying for it

The cost of these projects was derived from recent bid projects that ICS was aware of. There have been no estimates or bids sought yet. The plan was to have ICS present options to the board in August.

A budget summary looked at using $1.347 million in abatement dollars; over $3 million in Long Term Facilities Maintenance and $2.89 million from a referendum

Wadena-Deer Creek Superintendent Lee Westrum shared that if the district were to sell $5 million in bonds to pay for some of these projects, it would be about a $50 cost annually for a property owner with a home valued at $125,000.
As stated before, this is in the early stages. If this were to involve a referendum, the public would be brought in to be a part of the process through a public review of the options.

He's a writer, editor, photographer, truth seeker and promoter of the Wadena area.
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