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NLS, Minn., reviews summer building projects

NEW LONDON -- The New London-Spicer School Board on Monday evening reviewed the district's summer building projects, including security improvements at each school building, a new playground at Prairie Meadows in Spicer and reconstruction of the district's tennis courts.

The budget for the security work is $100,000, but the actual cost will likely be less than that amount, according to Superintendent Paul Carlson.

The work includes a buzzer entry system to allow visitors to enter the buildings, which will be locked during the school day, updating the surveillance cameras in the high school and middle school, and adding cameras at Prairie Woods Elementary, according to board member Helena Lungstrom.

The work will also include intercom improvements, the addition of a "panic button" feature and improvements to the fire alarm system, Carlson noted.

The funds for the work come from $1.395 million in capital facilities bonding approved last year by the school board.

The new Prairie Meadows playground, at a cost of $132,148, includes funds from the capital bonding, plus $38,712 in health and safety levy funds.

The tennis court project, including work to replace the seven existing courts, add an eighth court, and move the shotput area, was bid at a cost of $173,000 by Duininck Inc. Activities Director John Vraa informed the board that the first coat of asphalt was laid on Monday, with the second coat going down on Tuesday. Vraa noted that the paint for the court lines needs 30 days to set, and that there is enough time for the paint to set before the tennis tournament during the town's Water Day celebration.

The district had budgeted $400,000 for the project, but reduced that number to $200,000. Carlson noted during the meeting that district officials had hoped to reuse some of the posts for the courts, but found that not a single post can be recycled. All of the tennis court project funding comes from the capital bonding funds.

The board has also approved spending $120,000 on math textbooks, but will spend $37,000 only on elementary textbooks this year, Carlson said. The purchase of middle and high school curriculum will be delayed a year so that the district can research electronic options for use on iPads.

The board also reviewed the final student numbers for the 2012-13 school year. The district planned for 1,412 students before the year started, had 1,407 on Oct. 1, 2012, and finished the year with 1,384 students.

Those student numbers and changes to state funding for education will be included in the budget, for the coming 2013-2014 school year, that is scheduled for adoption by the board at the June 24 meeting.

The district expects to gain $1.2 million in funding in the first year of the new biennium, beginning July 1, and $1.8 million in the second year of the state funding cycle, Carlson said. Those funding increases include the 1.5 percent annual increases to the per-student state funding formula, changes to how student funding is calculated at the elementary, middle and high school levels, plus changes to special education funding.

The Legislature's approval of funding for all-day, everyday kindergarten will net the district an estimated $211,000, but that funding does not begin until the 2015 fiscal year.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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