A schedule is starting to come together for the Farmington School District’s long list of construction projects, and it looks like the summer of 2016 is going to be busy.
The Farmington School Board got a first look Monday at a schedule for projects funded by the bond voters approved Nov. 3. There are still plenty of details to add, and some projects may shift as it becomes clearer what will be required for each, but this first draft gives at least some idea what residents can expect to see over the next three years.
Monday’s draft includes roof replacements, paving projects, additions for kindergarten space and the installation of security cameras all between now and November of next year. The first phase of projects also includes an addition for kindergarten space at Riverview Elementary and the construction of secured entrances at Farmington and North Trail elementary schools.
Finance director Jane Houska said those schools will get secured entrances before the district’s other elementary schools because they require the least design work.
Houska said the district wants to get its roofing projects done quickly to make way for the installation of solar panels should the school board decide to go ahead with a project that would put the panels on all of its school buildings.
The district got an update on that project as well Monday but will not make a final decision until later on whether to proceed.
The second summer of projects includes secured entrances at the district’s other three elementary schools, new kindergarten space at Riverview, Meadowview and Akin Road elementary schools and mechanical and electrical work.
Year three includes kindergarten space at FES and North Trail as well as more mechanical and electrical work.
Some of those earlier projects could get pushed later in the process if it looks like they won’t come together quickly enough, but Houska said it was important to show voters the district is working on the projects they agreed to support.
“We want to show our community that we’re spending their money wisely,” Houska said. “We want to hit the ground running.”
Houska said the goal now is to do the projects in the fewest possible steps. So, for example, installation of security cameras in an area that will see the construction of a new entrance or the addition of new kindergarten space might wait until those later projects are ready to go.
Construction work on the projects is not likely to start until at least spring, but the school board approved three contracts related to the construction projects on Monday. The deals are with an owner’s representative, an architect and an engineer. All are companies the district has worked with before.
Meetings with the three companies -- Wold Architect, Hallberg Engineering and Hultman Group -- began the day after voters approved the bond. Houska said it was important to get those three partners on board quickly to make sure the project gets up to speed quickly.
“It will ensure that we continue to move forward and we are compliant as we do so,” Houska said.
School board members had a brief discussion about whether to hire board member Tera Lee as a substitute teacher.
Lee has studied in recent years to become a teacher and had approached board chair Julie Singewald about working in the district. Singewald asked the Minnesota School Boards Association about the appropriateness of a school district hiring one of its board members and was told it is a common situation around Minnesota.
The school board will have to renew its decision to employ Lee every year as long as she is on the board. The district will also limit Lee’s hours so she does not earn more than $8,000 per year.
Superintendent Jay Haugen said he welcomed a qualified substitute to the district. He said it has become very difficult in recent years to find substitute teachers.