School looks at expansion projects

Crystal Pugsley of the Plainsman
Posted 8/15/23

News from August 14 Huron School Board meeting

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School looks at expansion projects


HURON — Results of a facility planning study with JLG and an enrollment study are expected to be presented at the Aug. 28 School Board meeting, as the district looks at building projects to expand the CTE programs and alleviate growing pains at the high school.

“What started driving all this was the age of the high school and enrollment at the high school,” Business Manager Kelly Christopherson told the School Board Monday evening. “We’re in the 850-student range at the high school and we’re having some growing pains. It was built in 1967, and lots of classrooms are still of that vintage.

“We’ve talking about expanding our CTE programs several times, and that’s going to require some additional space,” he said. “We thought we should have a facilities study before we move ahead. That has led to how to do a project of that scope.”

Christopherson said funding the projects could be through a general obligation bond that would require a public vote and a 60 percent margin to pass. The School Board election coincides with the city elections on April 9, 2024.

“Tonight I want to put out a facility planning timeline,” he said. “JLG will be here Aug 28 to present a summary of the over 100 page report on our facilities and what they recommend.”
Christophers said they would put together a committee in September to go through the facility planning study and enrollment projections.

“At the Nov. 13 School Board meeting we would discuss what the committee has recommended and decide if we’re moving ahead and what the scope of moving ahead would look like,” he said. “In January we would decide what projects to fund with that general obligation bond. If we went down that path and had an approved bond, we would begin working with investment bankers right away to sell the bonds and get the money in the bank so we can move forward.

“Hopefully, we could have construction projects begin in December 2025,” Christopherson said. “In July 2027, hopefully phase 1 construction will be complete. That’s a two-year window. By that fall we could be using our new spaces. This is one possible scenario.”

If anyone has questions or comments, they are encouraged to reach out to a School Board member.

Supt. Kraig Steinhoff reported on a $500,000 grant that will be submitted to the FAA by Lake Area Tech in Watertown to fund two-year dual credit aviation courses for students at Huron High School and Northeast Technical High School in Watertown. It would reflect an agreement between the Huron and Watertown School Districts, REVV Aviation and Lake Area Tech.

Because of space requirements for aviation equipment, the district will look at renting space at the Huron Community Campus if the grant is approved, Steinhoff said.

The course would train future aircraft pilots, aerospace engineers and unmanned aircraft systems operators.

“There is no matching money required,” Steinhoff said. “The cost for us would be continuation of the course after two years are over.”

Steinhoff said they should hear if the FAA approves the grant request early next year, which means they could start the course next fall if it is approved.

Board members approved a purchase agreement for the Souled Out Center, the former roller skating rink which is located next to McKinley School. The 14,000-square-foot building is owned by Bethesda Church and would cost $325,000.

Christopherson said projects to resurface the track and complete the tennis courts are behind schedule, but both should be finished by the end of September.

Bryn Huber, a 2023 graduate, was congratulate for winning the 2023 SDGA Jr. Champion at Cattail Golf Course in Watertown.

Jolene Konechne, director of ESL, was named S.D. Association Teachers of Family and Consumer Sciences 2023 Administrator of the Year, and Mitch Gaffer received the Speech Communication Association’s Distinguished Service Award in Sioux Falls.

The school district held its first-ever bus rodeo for driving training and competition, which was supported by the state fairgrounds, Dakota Provisions, Iverson Auto, Fairy City Foods, Super Splash Car Wash and Scoreboard Sports Bar & Grill.

In other business, the district
• Approved 16 new hires
• Approved seven resignations
• Approved advertising agreements at Tiger Stadium for Vision Care Associates, Iversons and Farmers Union Service Association.
• Approved a request by the city of Huron to use a public school bus for city-wide transportation on Oct. 18