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East Gym: Progress is being made on the East Gym remodel. As shown in the attached photo, the ceiling has been painted and baskets are being mounted. They are also painting the walls. Electrical has been roughed in. Lights are scheduled to be installed the week of March 25th. In addition, the second attachment shows workers replacing the roof. Fortunately bids came in lower than expected and the roofing project was able to be included in the overall gym remodel. The roof was in need of replacement.   East Gym: For many years there has been a water leak into the East Gym space. To prevent any damage to the new wood floor, the architect and engineer are finalizing plans to mitigate the water issue. Most likely it will involve digging a trench at the south and east walls, adding water barrier, adding drain tile, and filling back in. The plan is to have the exterior water mitigation work completed in the next 2-3 weeks and have the floor installed in early May. The bleachers are scheduled to be installed mid-May. Main Construction Project: After many meetings September 2018-March, 2019 the architects and engineers are working hard completing drawings and writing specs, though there are still details and meetings to be held. Bid Package #1 – BHS site work is schedule to go out in April with a May bid opening. This bid package will involve demolition of the auditorium and related site preparation work. NS bid package is scheduled for June release and the BHS bid package is scheduled for July release.
Posted by lori.eix  On Mar 28, 2019 at 1:48 PM
  
East Gym: Construction is underway on the new “East” Gym. Part of the construction project will include repaving, and most likely redesign of the BHS parking lot. For more safety and efficiency we are looking at having busses pick up and drop off on the north side of BHS and parent pick up on the south side of the school. There will be work required to make bus drop off and pick up on the north side, perhaps making that street a one-way. Preliminary discussion has been held with Chief Hodge and SRO Paula Wilson. More information will be coming as this phase progresses.   Northside Addition: The Benson City Council approved a conditional use permit at Northside for the cafeteria addition and the preschool addition to be within the set-back limits. This is a big step forward. We thank the city council and Mayor for their support.   Design and layout meetings continue:  Preschool staff met with the architect to continue design work. Two teachers are going to the new elementary school (Lakeland) in Willmar to get design ideas for classrooms. Preschool staff visited another site to get ideas. There was a meeting on the auditorium as well with the architect and engineer. Much time was put into the auditorium sound and light needs. There is a tremendous amount of detail in an auditorium. Thank you to Brock and the auditorium committee for visiting other auditoriums to get ideas and be prepared.   The school board worked with the architect and engineer to decide on mechanical systems at the NS additions and at BHS.   The school board will be holding a work session. One of the agenda items will be to get an update on the auditorium from the architect, engineer, and Brock.   The Construction Manager (CM) is analyzing the drawings to this point. He will be contacting area contractors to get real time costs on different parts of construction. The CM will be giving a budget report and timeline to the school board at the February meeting. This is the job of the CM, to make sure the project is on budget and completed on time. This will be their first report, with more to follow as we work through construction.   The plan right now is to demolish the auditorium before school begins for the 19-20 school year. If this happens, the main BHS entrance may not be available for the school year. This is not definite, however it may be a possibility.   The NS main entrance may also be disrupted as construction happens on the cafeteria. Still working on options at NS.   Please know that parking will be limited around BHS and NS during periods of construction and we may have longer walks to get to the buildings.   While nothing is visual at this point, much progress is being made and many exciting things happening. Thank you to the staff for how prepared you have been for design and layout meetings and for having open minds to new ideas. This is fun and exciting stuff happening in our schools!   While the footprints (layouts) of the main construction areas are pretty well finalized, some of the interior work is yet in design phase.  
Posted by lori.eix  On Mar 28, 2019 at 1:43 PM
  
​East Gym​: Breitbach Construction gave an update on the East gym project. Initial wiring is completed and fire suppression is completed. Painters are now painting the ceiling. Basketball hoops are scheduled to be mounted next week and electricians will begin to hang lights. Water has come through the block onto the floor. This has been an ongoing problem. Breitbach is putting together a plan to mitigate the water infiltration so not to damage the wood floor. Likely, this will mean digging around the foundation, applying a water proof sealant to the exterior, putting in drain tile, and then filling with rock to drain. Grade for the original building was to be 2’. When the choir room was added, the grade went to 5’ so it is suspected that water proofing went up 2’, but not 5’. Plans for the main projects continue to move forward. Drawing and specs are being worked on. Bid package #1 – BHS site prep work is scheduled to be released in April, with bid opening in May. This includes demolishing the auditorium. CM Agreement: The board approved the Construction Management Agreement. ARY Agreement: The board approved the agreement with ARY (architects).
Posted by lori.eix  On Mar 28, 2019 at 1:39 PM
  
Art Room Change:  Art teacher Jenessa Grossman transitioned to a new classroom (room 412) at the beginning of second semester. The kiln has been set and wired right outside the room in the welding shop, outlets have been wired in the room, cabinets removed, projector mounted, and countertop and sinks removed from the current art room and installed into the new art location.   Old Art Room:  Band will move into the current art room during the time of the auditorium construction. The move will begin once Art is situated in the new room.   Current Auditorium:  The tentative plan is to demolish the auditorium before the 2019-2020 school year begins. We are discussing options for the ALC location. With the plan to demolish the auditorium this coming summer, we want to have everything moved out of that space before the end of the school year.   Builders Risk Insurance:  From the on-going category of “we don’t know, what we don’t know”. School districts need to carry Builders Risk Insurance both to cover on-site materials as well as “Soft Cost” Risk Insurance. Dave and I are working with the district insurance broker to secure insurance for these areas.   Bond Funds:  Bond Funds were received on December 6th and have been invested with PFM. Following the initial draw schedule, the funds have been invested in a mix of short and long term accounts. Liquidity is important so the district has funds to pay invoices as they come in, but invest long term to maximize return. School Districts are very restricted in where funds can be invested.   Gym Remodel:  Contracts are being prepared and contractors have ordered performance/payment bonds and insurance certifications. Pending the final building permit, contractors should be ready to go on the gym remodel the week of December 17th.  
Posted by lori.eix  On Mar 28, 2019 at 1:38 PM
  
The East gym project continues to move forward. Looking at the construction timeline, all of the indoor remodel and mechanical work is scheduled to be completed during the summer of 2020. To ensure that all of the construction is completed, school calendars will be adjusted to provide 16 weeks of construction time during the summer of 2020. School calendars for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 will allow for 16 weeks – or “Summer Slam” - as contractors refer to these summer school projects.
Posted by lori.eix  On Mar 28, 2019 at 10:32 AM
  
The school board sold bonds and approved the bond with an interest rate of 3.57%. This is below the estimated rate, saving tax payers $2 million over the 20 year bond. Closing will be December 6th. Bids were opened for the new gym remodel. The new gym will be called the “East” Gym. The base bid and two alternates (one for 4 basketball hoops and one for new bleachers) recommended to be accepted are over $100,000 below budget. The school board will take action on the bids at the Tuesday meeting. The project is slated to begin December 1st and be completed around April 1, 2019. Please note that the area south of the Trades House to the parking spots by the DK playground and receiving room door areas will be used for staging construction equipment so there will be no staff parking in those areas. Thank you for locating other areas to park. The school board will be interviewing a construction management company at the board meeting on Tuesday evening. The goal is to have a construction manager that works with the architects during pre-planning, work on bid plans, set a reasonable construction schedule, work with budgeting on the project, keep contractors on budget, keep contractors on schedule, provide daily quality control, etc. The process of changing spaces to accommodate construction phases is beginning. As part of the plan, the art room will be relocated to the far NE room at BHS (next to the metal shop). The NE room will be renovated over the next 3-4 weeks. The current art room will be used by band during construction.
Posted by lori.eix  On Mar 28, 2019 at 10:18 AM
  
The vote on the school referendum plan is just days away. What will this vote mean to our community? How will it impact our students? Why is it needed? Overall, the Aug. 14 school bond referendum seeks to equip our community with collaborative learning environments and sought-out activity spaces that engage and elevate our students and our community. It focuses on right-sizing our school facilities and equipping us with spaces we need to meet educational needs today and into the future. Here’s a look at five of the key impacts of the vote on Aug. 14: 1. New Auditorium Benson Schools had to close the auditorium in May 2017 after the ceiling collapsed on the 1928 building. In the past year, there have been over 100 requests for uses for an auditorium. A new 600-seat auditorium would provide enhanced experiences for our students and the community with dedicated performing arts space for concerts, theater and dance performances. It would significantly improve accessibility to make it easy and more inviting for all to attend. The auditorium would be available for community use and be a place that brings our community together and draws others to Benson. 2. Added Security School safety remains in the national headlines and a top priority for Benson Public Schools. This plan creates new secured entrances at both the elementary and high school buildings to give our students and families added peace of mind. The offices for Community Education, activities, school resource officer and the high school also will move next to the new main entrance for convenient access by parents and community members. 3. Combined Preschool-5th Grade Building This plan meets the community’s request to move 5th grade students to the elementary school in a dedicated building that will serve our community’s earliest learners through 5th graders. 4. New Early Learning Center In the past four years, Benson Schools has grown to serve 87 percent of local 4-year-olds and engages children from birth to equip them in the critical early years and prepare them for success in school. The new early learning center would be added on to Northside Elementary to more efficiently meet the needs of the community’s earliest learners in a safe and dedicated space that provides a smooth transition to kindergarten. 5. Collaborative Learning Environments Benson Public Schools offers the most college level classes and career enrichment activities in the area. Seeking to continue to equip our students for their futures, this plan includes collaborative learning spaces for grades 7-12. In these spaces, students will experience more hands-on activities where they can work together to problem solve, seek new information and become the critical thinkers the modern-day workforce needs. A special thanks to each of the 45 members of the Community Task Force who volunteered hours to evaluate our district’s learning and facility needs, discover what’s working in other schools and develop a plan to meet the community’s vision. \Click to learn more about the process, the plan and the impact. Vote on Aug. 14.
Posted by dzimmerman  On Aug 09, 2018 at 3:56 PM
  
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) awarded Innovation Research Zone status to Benson Public Schools, starting this school year. Benson is one of only three rural district collaboratives that received the innovation designation. “This year Benson Schools is embarking on a journey to build a culture of innovation that will serve as an example for others in our state and beyond,” said Dennis Laumeyer, superintendent of Benson Schools, which received the designation in partnership with Montevideo Public Schools. The Minnesota Legislature enacted this new program in 2017 to enable school districts and charter school an opportunity to test new ideas in K-12 education. This designation is designed to remove barriers and give the school recipients some flexibility in state mandates. “We excited about how this will enable us to further unleash our students and staff to develop their strengths, uncover new opportunities and be leaders in learning,” Laumeyer said. Designated schools research and implement innovative approaches to learning. These new approaches can be based on existing models or an emerging practice not yet supported by research. “This designation will enable us to get better results for our Benson students and help other schools in Minnesota implement innovative practices that achieve desired learning outcomes,” Laumeyer said.
Posted by dzimmerman  On Aug 09, 2018 at 7:25 AM
  
Benson Public Schools is asking the community to vote on a school referendum on Aug. 14 as a part of the primary election. Some voters, particularly those living in area townships, will receive ballots in the mail from the county. If you receive a mailed ballot, complete it and mail it back to the county. Other voters can cast their vote at their polling location on Aug. 14 or by visiting the their county election office any time during regular business hours before Aug. 14. Click to find your county election office. Anyone can vote absentee before Aug. 14 and it's easy to register to vote on the spot. Here's a look at how you will vote based on where you live: Swift County Benson Armory: Benson P-1 Benson P-2 Benson Twp. Torning Twp. DeGraff City Office: DeGraff Kildare Twp. West Bank Town Hall: West Bank Twp. Mailed Ballot: (Mailed on July 10) Camp Lake Twp. Cashel Twp. Clontarf Clontarf Twp. Danvers Dublin Twp. Kerkhoven Twp. Marysland Twp. Six Mile Grove Twp. Swenoda Twp. Tara Twp. Pope County Hoff Twp. - Mail Ballot (Mailed July 16) Langhei Twp. - Mail Ballot (Mailed July 16) Rolling Forks Twp. - Precinct Chippewa County Mandt Twp. - Mail Ballot (Mailed around July 25) Grace Twp. - Mail Ballot (Mailed around July 25) Register to Vote Are you registered to vote? Click to check your status online. Click to register to vote today. Vote Absentee Voters also can vote early by mail by applying for an absentee ballot from the Minnesota Secretary of State. Ballots will be sent starting June 29 for the Aug. 14 Primary Election. Ballots will not be counted if they are received after Aug. 14. Click to request an absentee ballot. Preparing to Vote Voters can begin preparing for the vote by viewing the sample ballot and learning more about the plans. Attend an upcoming information meeting on July 18 and Aug. 7 and get your questions answered. Click to view a sample ballot. Click to learn more about the referendum plans.
Posted by dzimmerman  On Aug 08, 2018 at 2:13 PM
  
Imagine coming together in small groups to solve a problem. Each individual brings skills to the table and together the group explore strategies, troubleshoots and reaches a desired outcome. It's a natural experience in the workforce and one that schools like Benson are seeking to give students. It's the modern day approach to teaching and learning. It starts with teachers and curriculum, but also requires intentional spaces designed with these outcomes in mind. Schools across the state and nation have been integrating new collaborative learning environments into their facilities to engage, equip and empower 21st century learners. Research shows taking a collaborative approach to learning achieves better outcomes for students, including: Higher academic achievement Greater productivity More supportive relationships between students Improved psychological health Better self-esteem Increased social competence. These collaborative learning environments designed especially for students, grades 6-12, are a part of the Community Equipped referendum plan developed by a 45-member Community Task Force for Benson Public Schools. It will go before voters on Aug. 14. A rendering of the proposed space is below:
Posted by dzimmerman  On Aug 08, 2018 at 8:01 AM
  
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