The Elk Point-Jefferson School Board held a special meeting Wednesday, Sept. 1 to hear the final report on a facilities upgrade assessment.
The assessment has been ongoing since early this year, with information gathered from staff, a community focus group and a district-wide survey. ISG Engineers has been overseeing the process.
The Sept. 1 meeting agenda contained only one item – to approve the ISG proposal for referendum campaign support, and move ahead on either a bond issue or capital certificates to fund the upgrades.
However, board members still had a number of questions on the scope of the upgrades and they want more information before they consider funding.
According to its website, “ISG is a nationally recognized multi-disciplinary design and engineering firm offering architecture, engineering, environmental and planning capabilities.” They are based in Mankato, MN, with locations in four states and an office in Sioux Falls.
Board president Travis Geary referred to the 1998 bond proposal, which built the elementary and high schools, and was supposedly designed to hold up to 1,000 students. EPJ has been consistently around the 700 mark and Geary wondered why more space is needed. ISG representatives had the current student to square foot ratios but did not know what ratios were used in 1998. They’ll try to get the information for the next meeting.
Board member Sabrina Sayler wants the board to remember that additional space means additional staff – teachers, custodians, etc. She is concerned that the upgrades could strain the budget in areas other than capital outlay.
Other board members were hoping to get more concise information on just how the projects would be configured. In their experience, ISG has found there is a fine line between too little information and overwhelming residents with too much detail. Those are items that can be dealt with once the board decides to move ahead.
For now, the proposal was tabled until the next meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13 in the high school study hall.