Brookview Elementary expansion uncertain with new school board candidates

Elli Swanson, Photographer

Brookview Elementary, District 834’s newest elementary school is hoping to expand very soon due to the developing neighborhoods near by.

Brookview Elementary school located in Woodbury has almost met its capacity of students and continues to increase in size. Because of the increase in students locally and the future neighborhoods that are soon to be built, the school is much needed of more classroom space.

“Two or possibly three new neighborhoods are expected very soon near Brookview Elementary over the next five to ten years,” Board member Sarah Stivland said.

With the upcoming major growth in the area the school’s original capacity that it was built up to hold, of 450 students, will not be beneficial to the district with the future growth of population in the area.

To allow the school to expand overall, a vote is going to be taking place on Nov. 29 to determine on whether or not the elementary school should expand in classroom size.

“If the vote to expand is passed Nov. 29, the hoped for date to have construction completed would be the start of the school year in 2020,” Board member George Hoeppner said.

If the vote is passed, construction on the school will began the fall of 2020. The construction will mainly be focused on adding in more classroom space for students. Although large areas in the school, like the gym and cafeteria, can hold a capacity of 600 students, they have already been overflowing with the amount of students that it can hold at its max.

When under construction, for the school to add in six to eight more classrooms the price “is estimated to cost $4.4-6 million,” Stivland said.

If the vote to expand is passed Nov. 29, the hoped for date to have construction completed would be the start of the school year in 2020.”

— George Hoeppner

The school’s expansion will not be affecting the district’s general fund, but will be getting the money to pay for the expansion from the districts taxpayers.

“A non-voter approved levy will be issued on district taxpayers over 10 or 15 years to pay down the loan. District 834 taxpayers will be paying for the addition through a property tax increase,” Stivland said.

Along with the money from taxpayers that will be paying for the school to increase its size, the district will also include the money that is from selling previous property in the district.

“Money will be taken from former district properties that have been sold,” Hoeppner said.

The money from previous land and buildings that the district used to own but now has sold will be put into the expansion on Brookview Elementary along with the money from the tax payers in the district.

For the expansion to be decided the board has been communicating and listening to the residents of the district and what they think is best needed for District 834 educational purposes.

For the school board to get the best information they can, they have been “asking tough questions and gathering information about the costs and determining whether this is the best use of taxpayer funds,” Stivland said.

The school board members are gathering as much information and community input into consideration to decide if Brookview’s expansion is needed.