The Milbank School District Board of Education met in regular session on Monday, October 8. Site selection, including soil sampling, is the next step in the project to build a new elementary school in Milbank to replace Koch School The board set Monday, October 29, as the date for a public meeting to gather input from the community in regard to potential sites. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the MHS theater.
Soil sampling is expected to be conducted in the next seven to 10 days. Meetings with officials from the City of Milbank have also begun to discuss a possible land swap and to ascertain accurate property delineations. The sites being considered include:
1.) The property just south of MHS.
2.) The property just north of MHS. This property would involve a land swap with the City of Milbank because:
a.) The Milbank School District owns the land the baseball field sits on. The City of Milbank leases the baseball field for $1. The City of Milbank owns the land the practice football field sits on. When the school district built the football field they traded land with the city for the property Unity Square now sits on and the practice fields behind Unity Square.
b.) A site for a new baseball field would need to be determined and the baseball field constructed.
c.) If the new elementary school goes up north of MHS, the football practice field would potentially move to the property south of MHS.
d.) The City of Milbank might look at trading their land for some of the land between the cemetery and the city garage to use for future cemetery expansion.
The Milbank School District Board of Education hired Hasslen Construction of Ortonville, Minnesota as the construction management firm for the elementary school project and CO-OP Architecture of Aberdeen as the design firm. Hasslen Construction’s fee is 3.5 percent of the cost of construction with eligibility to also submit sub-contractor bids. CO-OP Architecture’s fee is 4.9 percent of the guaranteed maximum price (GMP) which is determined and converted to a dollar amount once the facility is designed. The engineering firm Mettler Sichmeller, also of Aberdeen, was selected to consult on the mechanical and electrical aspects of the project.
The board voted to authorize Dick Schwandt, president of the Milbank School District Board of Education, to sign the contract with Hasslen Construction as soon as the details are fine tuned and reviewed by the school district’s attorney. Bids are expected to be let as early as February 2019.
Committees are also being formed to help navigate the project and to meet with representatives from the food service, custodial departments, and each grade level of Koch School. They include:
1.) The Milbank School District Board of Education will oversee the entire project.
2.) A separate design committee will include two school board members, Superintendent Graf, Koch School Principal Amy Brandriet, Koch School Special Education Director Kerri Sclhiesman, and possibly a Milbank city council member and a representative from the community.
Also pertinent to the project, Superintendent Graf reported the district’s valuation came in 4.4 percent higher than estimated at $919,060,535. He says, depending on the interest rates and construction costs, this could mean a 4.5 percent decrease in the tax burden for the bond. The projected rate of $1.30 per $1000 of tax value could be reduced to between $1.20 to $1.30 per $1000 of tax value.