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Info coming on building project

To the Editor:
In the upcoming weeks and months ahead, you will be hearing about the proposed building project at Glencoe-Silver Lake (GSL). The project’s scope is similar to the one that was narrowly defeated back in 2011.
Unfortunately, the needs of our district have not gone away and the cost has only increased. Back in 2011, the project was an $18.5 million facility. Today, with a few changes to reduce square footage, we will be asking for just over $24 million.
Please remember that the goal of this project is to address the two primary needs of the district through one project.
First and foremost, it is to address the needs of Helen Baker. It will also address the needs at the high school. Both are important and need attention. If we would simply “fix up” Helen Baker, we would need to spend around $6 million to $7 million. This would leave us with the same building. While it would be improved, we would still have the same building. We would need to spend an additional $4 million to $5 million to add classrooms, activity space, library, bus lane, parking, etc.
Next, when you look at the high school needs, we would be adding an additional $11 to $12 million to add the necessary security upgrades, classrooms space, activity space, locker rooms, and upgrades in boilers.
Having one project that will meet the needs of the district will allow us to consolidate our campuses in Glencoe and benefit not only from the energy and maintenance efficiencies, but also the educational efficiencies by allowing all of our students to use the flexible learning space that would be on our Glencoe campus.
If we are successful, we will certainly try to sell the Helen Baker school building with the intent that the space will continue to be an asset to the community. If the vote is successful, we will have two campuses – one in Glencoe and one in Silver Lake! Lakeside will continue to house third through sixth grades and $250,000 of the bond funds will be designated to complete the window replacements project at Lakeside. There will be money that will go directly to the Lakeside building in this vote.
At this time, we are looking at a May 12 special election, with official approval coming from the board on Monday night.
In the weeks and months ahead, the district will attempt to do a great job of giving you the information you need to be an informed voter. Please look for the upcoming forum meetings, newsletters, required mailings and even more letters to the editor to help answer your questions.
If you still have more questions, please give me a call at 320-864-2498 and I will be happy to help. In the end, the district has facility needs that need to be addressed. This bond referendum will be able to address them and put the district in good shape for the years ahead.
Christopher D. Sonju
Superintendent of Schools