DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION PROJECT

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REVIEW AND COMMENT
DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED SCHOOL
CONSTRUCTION PROJECT

Benson Public Schools, lSD #777, is proposing a bond referendum on August 14,  2018, that would authorize $26.3 million in bonding authority to finance facility improvements at the elementary and middle/high school attendance centers. Two additions are proposed at  the elementary school; a 14,823 square foot early childhood center and a 3,102 square foot cafeteria/activity area. At the middle/high school, proposed projects include the demolition of: the 1928/1950 junior high structures, the 1928 auditorium, the band room and the Alternative Learning Center. Proposed new construction at the middle/high school includes new high school classrooms, space to house the band room as well as a new auditorium. Other proposed projects at the middle/high school would  remodel  existing space, convert the pool area to a gymnasium and provide a secure high school entrance.
The projects would be  scheduled for completion in calendar years 2019-2021. Cost  estimates by  location/project type are as follows:

 
Elementary School- New Construction         High School
ECFE Center    $5,491,000                      New Construction
Cafeteria Area  $2,402,000                      Classrooms    $5,499,000
                         $7,893,000                      Band Room    $1,905,000
                                                                 Auditorium      $7,717,800
                                                                                       $15,121,800
             Districtwide
Contingency         $1,072,292                           Other Projects
Bond Issuance     $245,288                           Demolition              $550,000  
                             $1,317,580                        Remodeling            $635,500
                                                                       Convert Pool Area
                                                                           to Gym               $824,000
                                                                        Secure Entrance   $197,000
Total Project Costs $26,538,880                                                 $2,206,500 
 
The  district has  supplied cost  estimates to operate and staff the additional building space and believes existing revenues will be sufficient to fund any  operational cost increases associated with the added building space. In addition, the school board believes the proposed projects are in the best long-term interest of the district.
If the bond referendum is successful and bonds are sold, the debt service on  the bonds will be  eligible for debt service equalization under Minnesota Statutes, section 1238.53, subdivision 3, if the bond schedule is approved. The amount of debt service equalization aid, if any, the district receives is determined annually and is dependent upon property wealth, student population, and other statutory requirements.

REVIEW AND COMMENT STATEMENT
Based upon 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 regarding this proposal should contact the school district superintendent's office.

Dr.  Brenda Cassellius
Commissioner
June 29, 2018
7-18-1c

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