The Sibley Elementary School expansion looks like it’s ready for the indoor construction phase, just in time for winter.
Site preparation has begun on the Sibley Elementary School expansion. Last week, construction permits were pulled because of a mixup. I didn’t see anything about it in last week’s Friday Memo so I phoned Jim Kessler, Northfield’s Building Official, and emailed Supt. Chris Richardson for details. I’ve not yet heard back from Kessler but Richardson wrote: (continued)
As I reported (via a comment and a Tweet), the Northfield School Board met in special session last night and approved Supt. Chris Richardson’s revised recommendation (two-page PDF) for a design phase for the Sibley Expansion. The vote was 5-1. Katy Hargis voted no but didn’t explain why. Mike Berthelsen was absent, evidently in a snowbank!
Here’s Richardson’s summary paragraph at the end of his recommendation:
The administration recommends the approval of the design phase of the Sibley Addition project to include submitting the project to the State for review and comment, engaging architectural and engineering professionals to design the addition and remodeling project, and completing construction documents and project bid specifications.
I captured the initial audio of the meeting: open mic (I spoke, plus the three incoming school board members), followed by Richardson.
Click play to listen.
0:30 Griff Wigley
3:55 Ellen Iverson
4:30 Anne Maple
6:10 Jeff Quinnell
7:10-20:45 Chris Richardson
I’m pleased with the decision, as proceeding with the just the design phase now allows the ‘new’ board to see what happens at the Legislature with K-12 funding and with the Federal stimulus package for infrastructure projects. If things look rosy in the spring, they’ll be ready to pull the trigger on construction so that the expansion opens in the fall of 2010. If things look ugly, they’ll be able to call a temporary halt to the expansion till the economy improves.
Our guest this week was Northfield School District Superintendent Chris Richardson, talking with us about the proposed $2.8 million construction project at Sibley Elementary School.
I blogged about the project on Dec. 10 and Chris’s Powerpoint presentation (PDF) is included in that blog post, so I’ve turned off comments here in favor of continuing any further discussion there.
According to notes that Chris handed me, NTV will be broadcasting his presentation, taped at last week’s public hearing, six more times over the next four days.
Unfortunately, his list doesn’t coincide with the NTV schedule of his presentations currently on their website so here’s what he gave me (minus those broadcasts that have already occurred):
Friday Dec. 19: 8 pm
Saturday Dec. 20: 1 am and 7 am
Sunday Dec. 21: 10 pm
Monday Dec. 22: 3 am and 9 am
The Northfield Board of Education hosts the first of two public hearings tonight on its proposed construction project at Sibley Elementary School. The hearings are at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 10 and Tuesday, December 16 at the Northfield High School Media Center.
The District web site seems to have very little info about the plan. All I could find was this on the home page today:
At the November 24th meeting of the Board of Education, the School Board heard a report on the proposed addition to Sibley Elementary School and how it would address space needs across all three elementary buildings and provide greater program equity for students in each building. The Board then decided to hold two public hearings to present the elementary construction proposal to the community and to receive comment.
The Nfld News published an article last week titled Board considers $2.8 million Sibley expansion.
It would add 10 classrooms and 11,700 square feet of space to Sibley Elementary School. It would house two of the district’s three Special Needs programs and 50-75 additional students. It would cost the district $2.836 million, all of which would likely be drawn from the district’s own coffers.
And, on Dec. 22, if everything goes according to plan, the Northfield School Board will vote on whether to carry out the proposed multi-million dollar expansion and renovation project at Sibley Elementary School.
The paper also has an editorial about the expansion in today’s paper.
One interesting element to this decision is that three of the current board members will no longer be on the Board in another month: Paul Hager, Katy Hargis, and Wendy Smith. Newly-elected Jeff Quinnell, Ellen Iverson, and Anne Maple will begin their terms in January.
- Should the current board, which has presumably studied this issue long and hard, make the decision?
- Or should the decision be the responsibility of the ‘new’ board which will have to implement and live with the decision during the next term?
- And how does this ‘decision dilemma’ compare to the City Council making a decision about liquor store land yet this year vs. waiting till the 4 new council member take their seats in January?
I don’t yet have an opinion on either the expansion or which board should make the decision. I’m just irritated that the District seems to have published zero information about the expansion on its website for people to review, especially those who can’t attend the public hearings. Sigh.
12/11 6:30am update:
Superintendent Chris Richardson emailed us late yesterday afternoon that a PDF for the public hearing was now available on their web site. It’s titled: Northfield Public Schools, Proposed Sibley Addition, Facilities Study for Elementary Space Needs, November 24, 2008