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District 834 spends $8.8 million on long range facilities renovations

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Infographic by Christian Anderson

Feb. 9, the district approved the spending of $8.8 million for the renovations of Lake Elmo Elementary, Afton-Lakeland Elementary and Stillwater Junior High School. Among these renovations includes heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) and special education accommodations. The district plans on carrying out the renovations throughout the summer.

The plans for the spending has been outlined by the district’s long range facilities planning outline from 2014. The planning outline states different priorities throughout the district, including preschool in every elementary, create grade configuration based on academic needs and provide acceptable and equitable learning environments.

The money funding the summer project has come from the bond that residents voted for in 2015. In the division of the bond between the district, the high school obtained 49 percent the bond, while the elementary schools only received 27 percent of the original amount. The money will be primarily used for the renovation of the HVAC systems in the elementary schools and additional space for special education needs in Stillwater Junior High.

Upgrading the HVAC systems will be beneficial for the elementary students, as in the beginning and the end of the year can get relatively warm. The building acts as an insulator trapping the heat in during the warmer day, making students uncomfortable and unable to concentrate on during lessons. The HVAC upgrade will benefit the elementary students greatly by allowing them to concentrate on early learning instead of the heat by making the learning environment not hot, yet not cold.

Along with new HVAC systems, the district will be improving bathrooms by making it easier for students to access and installing sensory rooms in Stillwater Junior High.

In an interview with the Stillwater Gazette, Mark Drommerhausen said, “We talked about needs and what we would like to see improved in the medically complex space.”

We talked about needs and what we would like to see improved in the medically complex space.”

— Mark Drommerhausen

Sensory rooms are beneficial for those who are learning disabled by allowing the students to calm down and focus by changing the environment by dimming lights and introducing new stimuli. The new stimuli can be controlled by the student to draw in attention and control behavior.

With the high school construction well underway, the elementary schools and junior high are getting much needed upgrades that will benefit both staff and student alike. Construction should be completed for the 2017-2018 school year, and that will only be a small change in comparison to a plethora of change between moving grades and a new elementary school.

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8 Comments

8 Responses to “District 834 spends $8.8 million on long range facilities renovations”

  1. Ryan Shepard on May 1st, 2017 4:11 pm

    I liked how you described where the money was going and how much of it was going to be used. The infographic is really well done but it seems a bit blurry for me and I can’t read it well. Along with where the money is going I liked how you described why it was needed there and what will it enhance.

    [Reply]

  2. Andria Barrett on May 5th, 2017 7:51 pm

    Very informative, I learned a lot about the funding of our school district by reading this article. The story flows well and clearly laid out what the school district will be spending it’s money on.

    [Reply]

  3. Mira LaNasa on May 7th, 2017 4:34 pm

    It was interesting reading about the flow of money in our district. This article was very informative and well scripted. I appreciated the additional infographic to help break down the statistics in an easy to understand way.

    [Reply]

  4. Adam Humpal on May 7th, 2017 7:25 pm

    The article was well written overall. One of its strengths was planning outline linked into the article, but it was also summarized in that same paragraph. It is understandable that it would be difficult to get interviews for this article, but the quote from Mr. Drommerhausen worked well with the article.

    [Reply]

  5. Megan Ramberg on May 7th, 2017 11:01 pm

    I really liked the lead and nutgraph, how they both summarize what this article is about first-hand. This article is very cohesive and the infographic provides a lot of essential details! Overall, this article is extremely informative which is most important when writing for news.

    [Reply]

  6. Teagan Andrews on May 8th, 2017 8:18 am

    very informative about the districts money and what it’s all being spent on individually. really learned a lot off of reading this article.

    [Reply]

  7. Ben Wicklund on May 9th, 2017 7:02 am

    Fantastic facts, really breaks down the budget well. Easy to understand. Great info graphic as well, nice compliment to the story. Could have done more quotes and a more human focus on the story but good article!

    [Reply]

  8. Valerie Silbernick on May 9th, 2017 9:19 am

    Facts are really good, shows research and shapes the story well. I was able to learn a lot from this article and about where the money is going. Very interesting for all and puts light on what’s happening in our school.

    [Reply]

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District 834 spends $8.8 million on long range facilities renovations