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Robert Asp, Probstfield additions in Moorhead won't be ready when classes start

MOORHEAD – Two of the Moorhead School District’s biggest building projects this year won’t be done by the time school opens after Labor Day.

The 10,899-square-foot gymnasium and classroom addition for Robert Asp Elementary and the 21,394-square-foot gym, eight classrooms and other work at the Probstfield Center for Education are well behind their original timetables, Assistant Superintendent Brandon Lunak said Monday.

Much of the Robert Asp project will be done by the end of September, but the wood floor for the gym won’t be done until October, he told the School Board.

Meanwhile, the Probstfield addition should be enclosed by late September, Lunak said.

At Probstfield, the structural steel bar joists and decking is 75 percent complete for the classrooms and a connection corridor is ready to be buttoned up, he said.

Masonry work continues on the mechanical space and gymnasium walls for Probstfield, Lunak said. But that project won’t see its final phase, the wood gym floor, until November.

The summer’s third major project is 98 percent done and on target. The football field and track complex at Moorhead High School will be ready to host football and soccer games in September, Lunak said.

“It looks absolutely beautiful. It’s something to be proud of,” he said.

Lunak said the projects were delayed because the review and comment period by the state Department of Education took longer than expected. He said the projects also lost 14 work days in June due to significant rainfall.

In other business:

E District officials and consultant Cuningham Group set a timeline for the facilities task force.

Analysis and evaluation of all buildings, including the Red River Area Learning Center, Adult Basic Education and the bus garage, is to be finished today.

Next up is defining aspirations and priorities. The facilities steering committee will meet Sept. 15, with the master facilities task force meeting Sept. 15 and 16 and Oct. 7 and 8.

That’s followed by developing concepts for the district and each site. The steering committee will meet Nov. 3, and the facilities task force meets Nov. 3 (analysis and district-wide scenarios), and Nov. 4 (site-specific design).

Synthesis of the work and recommendations are next. The steering committee meets Nov. 24. The task force meets Nov. 24 and 25 and Dec. 15.

The groups will then make cost estimates and phasing recommendations. The steering committee meets Jan. 5 as does the task force. A presentation to the School Board and the community follows from 6 to 8 p.m.

The final presentation to the board will be Feb. 9.

E District taxpayers will get a break if the School Board agrees to vote itself more tax authority as allowed by the actions of the state Legislature.

In June, the board approved taking $300 of the district’s $949.52 in taxpayer-approved tax authority and converting it to board-approved tax authority.

If the board agrees for the 2014-15 tax year to convert another $424 in what is called Local Optional Revenue to board authority, it will save taxpayers money.

The change brings in $266,000 less in local dollars. But the way the school funding formula is set up, the state then kicks in another $266,000. That means the district will get the same revenue, while cutting the local tax burden, Lunak said.

Those changes would leave $252.52 in local levies requiring taxpayer approval. That levy ends in fall 2017, Lunak said.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including education, Fargo city government, business and military affairs. He is currently The Forum's K-12 education reporter.

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