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MACCRAY hears requests for elementary school upgrades

CLARA CITY — What will be the next step for the MACCRAY Schools following last January’s defeat of a $20 million bond issue for a new elementary school and theatre remains on the top of the district’s agenda.

The Raymond and Maynard city councils sent resolutions to the MACCRAY School board calling on the district to upgrade the East and West elementary facilities in each community.

School board members reviewed the resolutions at their meeting on Monday in Clara City, but offered no comments. The identical resolutions asked that the district use its health and safety authority to undertake the infrastructure improvements identified by Energy Services Group, Wayzata, as part of an earlier analysis of school facilities.

The analysis estimated that it would cost more than $9 million to upgrade each of the elementary school facilities.

The resolutions from the two city councils pointed out that the district had invested more than $7 million to upgrade the heating and ventilation system in the high school building, and asked that similar work should be undertaken in the elementary buildings.

School board members recently appointed a 14-member facilities committee to help the district decide its next steps. It has held an initial meeting, and has slated meetings into June.

At Monday’s meeting, board members approved adding two members to the committee, one teacher from the elementary and another from the high school. They have yet to be named.

The committee currently includes three school board members, including chairman Lane Schwitters, Carol Thomton and Jason Boike. The membership also includes community and city council representatives from Clara City, Maynard and Raymond, and school administrative and custodial staff.

Interim Superintendent Loren Hacker said the committee is looking at the full range of issues and options for the district.

Board chair Schwitters said the initial meeting indicated that there were lots of ideas on what the district can do.

In a related matter, board members met with Joel Cleveland, project manager, Climate Makers of Brainerd, to review five years of invoices and inspections on the steam boilers in the two elementary schools.

Steam coils for the heat radiators in classrooms must be custom made when they fail. Cleveland said there is no way to anticipate the failures, but he said the coils come in two different sizes and the district could have one of each size pre-built to have on hand.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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