At a September 9 work session, school board members reviewed the facilities and financing plans for work to be done at the district’s three comprehensive high schools as part of the planning for new grade spans that will begin in the 2015-2016 school year.

Board members heard about three key components of the work:

  • the facilities plan, which includes building additions and repurposing/remodeling space to accommodate the addition of 9th graders (approximately 500 students) in each building under the new grade spans;
  • a proposal to align the names of the four junior high schools with their new middle school grade spans;
  • the plans for financing the construction at the senior high schools.

Facilities Plan

View this part of the work session

Facilities and Transportation Operations Director Dale Carlstrom described a comprehensive planning process that involves high school principals, academic department leaders, teaching staff, and architects. At each high school, planners have met for approximately 30 hours with staff to plan facilities changes that will support teaching and learning and provide positive experiences for all students at each school. Planning includes special attention to ensuring that 9th graders are fully incorporated into their high school’s culture.

Design plans, by building

Construction timeline

Construction will begin in earnest this fall/winter and will continue through summer in order for all facilities to be completed by early August 2015. During the construction period, high school space available for use outside the school day may be limited or subject to change.

Financing construction

View this part of the work session

The construction work at the three comprehensive high schools will be paid by a combination of four financing tools provided by the State of Minnesota. Of the four options, only one results in additional cost to taxpayers (see below). The district can revise existing facilities projects and financing to use the other tools in a way that avoids any additional cost to taxpayers.

Financing tool (debt instrument)

Tax impact

Lease levy for instructional facilities
(certificates of participation, a form of lease levy that carries lower costs)
$18 per year on typical home
Alternative facilities levy
(bond and pay-as-you-go levy)
No additional tax
Operating capital
(capital facilities bonds)
No additional tax
Operating capital
(capital notes)
No additional tax

While the projected construction costs for the additions have increased from the preliminary estimate of $13.5 million to nearly $15 million, the tax impact remains the same as it was estimated last spring ($18/year on typical district home valued at $200,000). The earlier estimates were based on broad industry standards and now there is more detailed information available about specific needs and what it will take to meet them. The updated estimate also includes contingencies and inflation.

Aligning current junior high school names to new middle school grade spans

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The board is also considering a proposal to adjust the names of the district’s four junior high schools to reflect the new grade spans they’ll be serving. The only part of each name that would change is the part that reflects grade spans. No change is needed at senior high or elementary levels.

The proposal is to change the junior high names as follows (change is in italics):

  • Brooklyn Junior High, a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math School to become Brooklyn Middle School, a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math School
  • Maple Grove Junior High to become Maple Grove Middle School
  • North View Junior High, an IB World School to become North View Middle School, an IB World School
  • Osseo Junior High to become Osseo Middle School

How you can provide feedback

Students, staff, parents, and community members may provide feedback on those proposed name adjustments before the board takes action on the proposal. You can provide feedback by:

  • Emailing welisten@district279.org;
  • Addressing the school board during “Audience Opportunity to Address the Board” at the regular meetings on September 23 and/or October 21;
  • Mailing written comments to Assistant Superintendent Kim Riesgraf, Educational Service Center, 11200 93rd Avenue North, Maple Grove MN  55369