BOLD school board hears divided views on closing Bird Island Elementary
A majority of those addressing BOLD school board voiced opposition to closing the Bird Island Elementary School. The School board will decide Oct. 26 whether to do so.
OLIVIA — BOLD school board members heard divided views from the public on whether to close the BIRD Island Elementary school at a public hearing on Monday, although a majority of those who addressed the board supported saving it.
Superintendent Dale Brandsoy said the Bird Island facilities were “no longer a healthy, safe, or viable space for education.” He pointed to a study by ICS Consulting that determined it would cost $17.5 million to correct its deficiencies and bring it into compliance with educational codes.
Ryan Hoffman, with ICS Consulting, said the district has a current enrollment of 632 students. The facilities in Olivia and Bird Island provide the capacity for 1,374 students.
Opponents of closing the school warned board members that it was “premature” to consider doing so. Mark Glesener told board members that a survey conducted by the Bird Island Economic Development Agency earlier this year found that a majority of respondents wanted the district to open dialogue with the Buffalo Lake Hector Stewart district about building needs.
But others urged board members to move forward with a proposal to build the new, preK-12 school on the hospital campus and close the Bird Island school. .
Currently, BOLD is hosting K-12 classes in the Olivia Junior/High School facility, but continues to use the gymnasium in Bird Island. Mold issues in the upper two floors led to decisions in the previous two years to move elementary grades to the Olivia campus.
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