Facility Task Force
The Grand Forks School Board engaged a process to explore and identify long-range facilities needs and financial implications and to align community values with contemporary educational experiences. Part of this work was done by a diverse, citizen-represented Facilities Task Force that served in an advisory capacity to the Grand Forks School Board.
The benefits realized from the work of a Facilities Task Force include:
- Creates a shared vision of public education;
- The process, and ultimately the projects, help develop a community sense of ownership and pride in the direction forward;
- Educates the community about real versus perceived issues;
- Provides an understanding by the School Board and leadership of the community's challenges with potential plans;
- The solutions forwarded meet most everyone's needs in the community and not necessarily only those of the organization;
- Harnesses community support through shared ownership of the plan.
At the conclusion of their work, the Facilities Task Force prepared a presentation summarizing its findings and including an advisory recommendation targeted to the Grand Forks School Board on December 17th, 2020.
Background of the District
Modern Learning Environment Design
North Dakota School Financing/Funding
District Financial Health
Task Force Recommendations
- Grand Forks School Board adopts a long-term facility master plan that is comprehensive and transparent in addressing both the significant facility needs and budget concerns. This needs to be presented and communicated fully to the public as a part of any referendum campaign.
- When considering projects to be completed, the Task Force believes that an emphasis should be placed on the following areas:
- Replacement of Valley Middle School and West Elementary School as renovation is no longer viable.
- Consolidation of several smaller schools in the district is required to provide equitable facilities, programs, and opportunities for students throughout the district. Additionally, this provides significant operational savings to the district in addressing budget issues.
- Special education and medically fragile students deserve respectable and equitable facilities which are not present in several of our schools. Addressing this issue needs to be a priority.
- A healthy learning environment in ALL schools is necessary for ALL students to achieve at their highest potential. This includes environmental aspects of air quality, lighting, temperature/humidity, and sound.
- Safety, security, and accessibility (ADA) concerns need to be addressed in all schools, including (but not limited to) modern secure entryways, school surveillance, and accessible restrooms.
- Phase I of the facility master plan should include a bond referendum in the amount of $90 million to address immediate needs and a progressive increase of the building fund levy of two mills per year for five years to address ongoing maintenance needs. As an option, the Board could consider simply requesting an additional five mills of Building Fund levy as part of Phase I and an additional five mills of building levy as part of Phase II.
- The projects that should be considered for use of the bond referendum process including building a new consolidated elementary/middle school at the current Valley Middle School site to include all students currently attending West, Wilder, and Winship elementary schools, as well as Valley Middle School.
- A new central kitchen would be constructed as part of this project.
- Complete high-priority projects at Ben Franklin and J Nelson Kelly elementary schools, Elroy Schroeder Middle School, and additional to be determined schools.
- Phase II (timing TBD) of the facility master plan should include an additional bond referendum in the amount of $64.4 million to address continued facility needs.
- The projects that should be considered for use of the bond referendum proceeds include closing/consolidating Lewis & Clark Elementary School into a remodeled/expanded Ben Franklin Elementary School; and closing/consolidating Viking Elementary School into a remodeled/expanded J Nelson Kelly Elementary School.
- Additional high-priority projects (TBD) would be completed at other schools.
- All operational savings that result from the consolidation of elementary schools should be used to increase the fund balance until it is rebuilt to an appropriate level (15%-20% of operating budget).