Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

Construction to start on new school

 


The Moose Lake/Willow River cooperative sports program will have to find alternative spaces for practice fields for football and other sports while the new school is under construction, it was reported at the meeting of the Moose Lake School Board on Monday, June 22.

Katie Hildenbrand of ARI, the school’s architects, pointed out that after the bid is awarded in July for clearing the building site, all of the practice fields located on the school district property along County Road 10 will not be available for the duration of the construction, estimated at two years.

“My guess is that they will skim the land all the way from the bus garage to Konieska Road,” she said. “The football field will be out of commission in the fall.”

That lack of facilities was noted by Willow River Athletic Director Dave Louzek in his report during the Athletic Liaison meeting between the two boards following the school board meeting.

“The coaches are now having practices one day a week for football,” he said. “We are using the field here. There is not enough room for football practices for grades seven through 12. We need two football fields for practices. “

Superintendent Robert Indihar suggested he work with the city to find alternative practice fields. Several board members suggested other potential sites.

The wetlands delineation report is now final, and the placement of the new athletic fields south of the new school could be refined, Hildenbrand explained in her report. She said the new football field and track would now be oriented in a north-south configuration and located next to County Road 10.

“With the football field closer to the road, then we can fit in a baseball field, a softball field and space for a soccer field,” said Hildenbrand.

She noted there is green space to the east of the school, where there would be space for other athletic fields, such as tennis courts, in the future, if desired.

School Board Chair Kris Lyons said there would probably not be funds for tennis courts or other sports facilities in the $34 million school bond. She added the board would have to develop a plan for future facilities.

There were no major changes in the design of the school building itself, Hildenbrand told the board, but explained how refinements were made in the locker room areas that would better suit the needs of different sports, coaches, phy-ed and health classes.

Existing shelving will be used in the new library, and Hildenbrand explained the existing shelves were measured to see how they would fit in the new school. The same was done with science equipment, she added.

It was noted there are four driveways to the new school on the plans and it was asked if approval had been given for four driveways from County Road 10.

Supt. Indihar said the plans will be presented to the county engineer.

Tom Paull also pointed out the speed limit on County Road 10 is 50 miles per hour and that would have to be reduced for a school zone.

The board passed motions to approve reviewing a site bid package that will be due on July 15, and approve reviewing the footing and foundation package that will be due on August 12.

The site bid package is for dirt work and the footing and foundation work will be to start the construction of the new school building. Plans are to construct the building through the winter, which is preferred for the concrete panel construction for the exterior of the building, it has been said in the past.

The concept plans can be found on Facebook under Moose Lake Community School.

Lee Stephenson, social studies instructor for the high school, explained to the board that new digital curriculum for the social studies program will be introduced to the students beginning this fall.

“We were on cycle to buy curriculum,” he told the board. “The curriculum ordered textbooks seven years ago, but now, with the students having Chromebooks, we are going to be getting into new interactive curriculum through TCI, History and Geography Alive! for each of the grade levels. We can incorporate events that are going on in the world, such as learning about Syria.”

Stephenson added there is a change in social studies curriculum for sixth grade also. That curriculum has been purchased from McGraw Hill and is online.

He said five textbooks will be purchased for high school students who do not have Internet access at home. Ten textbooks will be purchased for sixth grade students.

“We’re really excited about this,” he told the board members. “But it will be a huge learning curve for me.”

Megan Neilsen, who teaches sixth grade, explained the math curriculum will also be upgraded to be more in alignment with the high school math curriculum.

“We were not on cycle to purchase new curriculum until next year,” she said, “but I thought that it would benefit the students if we purchased it this year.”

Supt. Indihar announced Lakes and Pines will set up an office in the school-owned family center, located on Elm Avenue, beginning July 1. Improvements have been made to the building.

The building is still for sale, and Supt. Indihar explained the purchase price has been raised from $144,900 to $154,900.

In other business, the board accepted the resignation of Scott Benoit, who has been a member of the board for three years. Benoit stated he purchased a new home out of the school district.

The board appointed a former board member, Tom Paull, to fill the position. Paull’s vote total was second in the last school board election, Supt. Indihar explained, and that has been the board’s practice in the past. Paull has also been trained, and he helped in the passage of the bond referendum.

The next regular meeting of the school board was set for Monday, July 20, at 5 p.m.

 

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