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A light turnout

By Staff | May 26, 2010

Rugby school officials were hoping for a better turnout last week at the scheduled open house to learn more about the proposed renovation and new addition at the Rugby Jr.-Sr. High.

On June 8 school district voters will decide whether or not to approve a $6 million no-interest general obligation bond issue to fund the project.

A little over 30 attended the May 24 open house that included tours of the school and where, and what kind of renovation work is planned.

The public also heard a presentation from Jeff Lind, school superintendent; and representatives from Zerr Berg, the project architect.

“We would have liked to reach more people, but those who did take the time to attend found the presentation worthwhile,’ Lind said. “Basically every aspect of the project was covered.

Project officials explained the need for renovation and a new addition; the estimated costs and the financing plan and the likely impact to individual property owners; as well as the design plans.

Following the presentations, project officials fielded about 25 questions. They ranged from why is the renovation and/or addition needed; to was consideration given to other design proposals; and other alternatives in financing the project.

School officials have spent nearly 12 months on the planned project, including receiving an initial building assessment from a Minot engineering firm. That report outlined recommended renovation as well as new construction at an estimated cost of $6 million.

The board looked into possible financing options which included applying for one-time zero interest general obligation bonds provided through the Department of Public Instruction. Other possibilities was to tap into available building fund levies and use one-time stimulus grant dollars.

The board then considered some immediate areas to address, including renovating the 1955 wing of the high school as well as new windows and electric upgrades at Ely Elementary.

The board eventually formed an ad hoc committee made up of district residents to review the building assessment and determine whether improvements were needed. The committee’s findings were to proceed with a project.

The board then requested proposals from three architect firms, eventually selecting Zerr Berg, of Fargo, to draft designs to renovate the 1955 wing of high school as well as remodel other areas of the building and construct a new addition to be transformed into a new cafeteria/commons and main building entrance.

Also, draft design specifications for installing new windows and electrical upgrades at Ely. Bids were received and accepted earlier this month to complete the Ely project which will cost about $388,000. Funds from the district’s one-time stimulus grant will cover the price.

Inform the public

In addition to the May 24 open house, school officials used other means to get information to the public about the renovation/addition, including meeting with service organizations and supplying information to the local media.

Hopefully, all those efforts worked to reach a good number of residents about the project and the bond issue election on June 8.

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