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School Board discusses long-range facilities plan

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news Morris, 56267
Morris Minnesota 607 Pacific Avenue 56267

MORRIS, Minn. - At their meeting Monday, the Morris Area School Board considered a draft copy of a 10-year facilities plan developed by ICS Consulting, which includes a breakdown of potential projects for the elementary school, high school and bus garage, as well as a set of miscellaneous projects to consider.

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"I think it's a really good starting point for us," said Superintendent Scott Monson.

The draft plan includes more than $7.25 million in potential projects over the next 10 years. Some of the bigger proposed projects include:

• $580,000 between 2020 and 2022 for a phased replacement of the rubber roof at the elementary school;

• $390,000 between 2016 and 2017 to fix the front drive and main parking lots at the high school;

• $352,000 in 2014 to fix the high school tennis courts;

• $125,000 in 2018 to replace the high school auditorium seats;

• $144,000 over 10 years to make exterior improvements at the bus garage; and

• $350,000 in 2019 to replace turf in Big Cat Stadium.

"There's a lot of expensive stuff in here, but of course it's over 10 years; I think the plan is really smart," said School Board Member Brent Fuhrman, who serves on the Facilities Committee with School Board Member Laura Carrington. "Now, our priority needs to be in education and students; that needs to be the priority of our dollar. But this needs to be probably a little further up the priority chain than we've had it."

Although the price tag for the projects sounds high, Carrington pointed out that two facilities projects being addressed this year - re-roofing a portion of the high school and recommissioning the systems in all district buildings - had come in under the cost projected in the plan.

School Board Member Dick Metzger asked whether there were any projects on the list that seemed most pressing to address within the next two years.

Fuhrman said the list was still being considered, but some items that he thought needed to be addressed were parking lot maintenance, improvements at the bus garage, the tennis courts and the high school auditorium.

No formal action was taken on the plan at Monday's meeting. Monson and the Facilities Committee will now work to review the plan to prioritize projects on the list and decide when they could be feasible to complete.

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Kim Ukura has served as the editor of the Morris Sun Tribune since August 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota, Morris in 2008 with degrees in English and journalism. She earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2010. Prior to returning to Morris to work at the Sun Tribune, she worked in trade publishing. 
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