Superintendent Justin Downes of the Milbank School District says a special meeting has been called to give residents in the district an opportunity to... Public Meeting November 3  to Discuss New Building Addition at Milbank High School

Superintendent Justin Downes of the Milbank School District says a special meeting has been called to give residents in the district an opportunity to voice their opinions about the proposed construction to Milbank Elementary School.  Downes says, “We want to be out in the open about the chance to expand our educational programming here in the district.” 
The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 3, at 7 p.m. in the Milbank Elementary lunchroom. 

According to Downes, the addition would extend from the north side of the lunchroom.  “By joining to the existing structure, there is a huge cost advantage versus a stand-alone building. This location is what we feel makes the most sense at this time.”  But, he cautions, “None of the drawings are official and all layouts and designs are subject to change upon hiring a construction manager at risk, architect, etc.” The proposed addition would include four additional classrooms, two shop areas, a storage room, a bathroom, and a multi-purpose gymnasium.  Downes says, “The multi-purpose gym would allow space for indoor practice for all of our extra-curricular activities as well as a PE gym to take the wear and tear off our two new gymnasiums.” 

“This is again subject to change depending on the cost of materials and availability,” Downes says. “In an ideal world, the shops and gymnasium would have a larger footprint and an additional classroom and locker room would be added,” Downes says. “The main focus of the project is to expand our CTE offerings.”  CTE is a broad term for education that combines academic and technical skills with knowledge and training to prepare students to enter the labor market.  

“CTE prepares students for the world of work by introducing them to workplace competencies in a real-world, applied context. This can greatly help with workforce needs in the community as well,” Downes says. “We hope to work with community employers to find and develop the skills needed for employment right here in Milbank.” The estimated cost of the project is from $4.2 – 5.6 million. During the meeting on Wednesday, all numbers used will be based on $4.75 million. 

According to Downes, the project will not raise property taxes.  He says, “The intent is to use capital outlay certificates paid by our current capital outlay fund without raising any taxes or levy amounts.  We have several payments that are falling off our liability in the next couple of years. This expansion project can nearly be funded by those payments alone.” 

Space is one of the concerns the project is designed to alleviate. “There is currently one open classroom district-wide,” Downes says. “We have needs for classroom space and a need to expand ELL (English Language Learners) and Sped (Special Education) programming.  Currently, not all of our classrooms are temperature controlled and this expansion addresses that issue. The expansion also addresses a storage and fleet parking issue.” 

Downes says, “This has the potential to be a great bridge between the school and the community to really develop workforce needs in our community.  We hope that we can better prepare the students of Milbank for the future as a result of this project.”

More questions? Attend the meeting at Milbank Elementary School on Wednesday, November 3, at 7 p.m.


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