Review and comment project proposal for ISD #671
Review and comment project proposal for ISD #671
The Commissioner of the Department of Education
Review and Comment on the School Construction
Proposal of Hills-Beaver Creek Public School District, ISD #0671-01
A review and comment must be provided on a school district construction
project proposal before the district conducts a referendum, solicits bids, or issues bonds
for the project. A project proposal has been submitted for review and comment
according to requirements set forth in Minnesota Statutes, section 123B.71,
subdivisions 9 and 10, and Minnesota Statutes, section 123B.72. The district
provides the following information:
1. The geographic area and population to be served:
a. preschool through grade 12 student enrollment for the past five years, and
b. student enrollment projections for the next five years.
2. A list of existing school facilities:
a. by year constructed,
b. their uses, and
c. an assessment of the extent to which alternate facilities are available
within school district boundaries and in adjacent school districts.
3. A list of specific deficiencies of the facility:
a. demonstrating the need for a new or renovated facility to be provided,
b. the process used to determine the deficiencies,
c. a list of those deficiencies that will and will not be addressed by the proposed
d. a list of specific benefits that the new or renovated facility will
provide to students, teachers, and community users served by the facility.
4. A description of the project, including:
a. specifications of site and outdoor space acreage,
b. square footage allocations for classrooms, laboratories and support
c. estimated expenditures for major portions of the project,
d. estimated changes in facility operating costs, and
e. dates the project will begin and be completed.
5. A specification of the source of project financing, including:
a. applicable statutory citations,
b. the scheduled date for a bond issue or school board action,
c. a schedule of payments, including debt service equalization aid, and
d. the effect of a bond issue on local property taxes by property class and valuation.
6. Documentation obligating the school district and contractors to comply
with the following items:
a. Minnesota Statutes, section 471.345 governing municipal contracts,
b. sustainable design,
c. school facility commissioning under Minnesota Statutes, section 123B.72,
certifying the plans and designs for heating, ventilating, air conditioning and
air filtration for an extensively renovated or new facility meet or exceed current
code standards, including ASHRAE air filtration Standard 52.1,
d. American National Standards Institute (ANSI) acoustical performance
criteria, design requirements and guidelines for schools on maximum back-
ground noise levels and reverberation times,
e. state fire code,
f. chapter 326B governing building codes, and
g. consultation with affected government units about the impact of the
project on utilities, roads, sewers, sidewalks, retention ponds,
school bus and automobile traffic, access to mass transit and safe access
for pedestrians and cyclists.
Description of Proposed School Construction Project
Hills-Beaver Creek Public School District, ISD #0671-01 is proposing a two question bond referendum on April 11, 2023. The first ballot question would authorize $26.5 million in bonding authority to finance a new, 57,416 square foot elementary school on a new site to be acquired by the district, most likely in or around Beaver Creek; along with the demolition of the existing elementary school and secure entrance improvements to the secondary school. The second ballot question would authorize $3.475 million in bonding authority to finance: deferred maintenance upgrades to Hugo Gym, the demolition of the remaining portion of the old Hills high school, upgrades to the existing bus garage facility and parking lot improvements at the secondary facility in Hills.
The existing school buildings include: an older PK-5 facility in Beaver Creek, a newer, 6-12th grade secondary in Hills and the old high school site (which contains the Hugo Gym and the bus garage); also located in Hills. The projects proposed would be scheduled for completion in calendar years 2024 and 2025. Cost estimates by ballot question/location/project type are as follows:
Ballot Question #1 Ballot Question #2
New Elementary School $15,170,322 Deferred Maintenance $1,056,154
Land Acquisition $480,000 Bus Garage Addition $383,806
Storm Shelter Upgrades $350,000 Demo Old High School $456,160
Site Improvements $2,452,500 Site Improvements $486,000
Demo Existing Elementary $561,000 Fees, Permits & Testing $357,318
HS / MS Secure Entrance $48,000 Contingencies $689,842
FF&E / Technology $2,227,961 Bond Issuance $45,720
Fees, Permits & Testing $1,324,023 $3,475,000
Bond Issuance $449,367
Capitalized Interest $627,778
Though the district expects a decline in operational costs with the construction of a new, energy-efficient elementary school and the demolition of the non-gymnasium portion of the old high school facility, declining enrollment will likely be an issue for the district’s operational budget in the intermediate to long term future. Enrollment projections show a decline of 8 – 13% annually beginning with the 2025-26 school year. If enrollment declines continue into the future and class sizes drop significantly below the status-quo of slightly more than 20 students per grade, the district will likely face operational cost deficits prior to the completion of the debt service payments on the proposed bond issue which expire in FY 2046.
The proposed project appears to be in the short-term interest of the school district but the intermediate and long term advisability of the proposed projects is difficult to determine and will be dependent on future student enrollment trends.
Review and Comment Statement
Based on the department’s analysis of the school district’s required documentation and other pertinent information from sources of the Minnesota Department of Education, the Commissioner of Education provides a positive review and comment.
Additional Information is Available
Persons desiring additional information requiring this proposal should
contact the school district superintendent's office.
/s/ Willie L. Jett II,
March 3, 2023