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Members of the Community Task Force that led to the 2018 bond referendum talk about the process and plan on KSCR. Those interviewed included: 

Dave Nagler - Landowner
Jesse Hughes - Business Owner and Landowner
Jim Hilleren - Landowner
Tim Nagler - Landowner
Eric Peterson - Business Leader
Dennis Laumeyer - School Superintendent

Listen to the interview.
Posted by dzimmerman  On Jul 05, 2018 at 3:42 PM
  

By Superintendent Dennis Laumeyer

When I first came to Benson, the school district’s history of providing a large number of quality enrichment activities caught my attention. Over the years, I have seen a growing number of students participate in a variety of activities. In a year, we’ve had more than 350 students in choir and band, over 75 in theater, and over 200 dancers.

So, I understood the disappointment in May 2017 when the district had to close the 1928 auditorium after the ceiling collapsed. In the past year, it has meant limiting access and learning opportunities for students.

The broader community felt it, too, as the district moved concerts, theater productions and dance programs to the gymnasium. We have not had enough room for everyone and the seating has been inadequate, especially those who have accessibility limitations and our elderly residents.

The Aug. 14 bond referendum seeks to change that. A new auditorium that would seat 600 people in comfortable theater-style environment and have full accessibility for all is among the key components of the upcoming bond referendum.

Meeting Key Needs
The $26-million plan developed by the 45-member Community Task Force aims to meet key needs of the community with a minimal tax impact, including:

  • Create new dedicated auditorium space and add music room at high school
  • Create child care and early learning center at Northside Elementary School
  • Add Northside cafeteria, which also provides needed activity and community space
  • Remove 90-year-old auditorium
  • Remove 90 and 68 year old junior high buildings
  • Create a PreK- grade 5 dedicated learning center at Northside
  • Develop a 6-12th grade secondary school
  • Develop collaborative learning environments to engage junior and high school students
  • Repurpose pool to activity space
  • Upgrade secure entries at elementary and high schools

This will mark the school district’s first major remodel since 1994.

Efficient Use
Overall, this project promotes the efficient use of the district's current facilities and update spaces to meet the changing needs of education. This project will add about 55,000 square feet, remove 112,000 square feet and update more than 21,000 square feet.

Attend Meetings & Tours

We will continue to share more details on the plan in the coming weeks. Join us at Northside Elementary for the next informational meeting and tour from 6-7:30 pm on July 18. The meeting will focus on plans for child care and early learning through elementary, new cafeteria/activity space and safety upgrades.

Learn more today and receive updates by following Benson Public Schools on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Posted by dzimmerman  On Jul 05, 2018 at 11:43 AM
  

The 2018 bond referendum for Benson Public Schools includes building a new auditorium that would seat about 600 people in comfortable theater-style environment. Just one component of the plan, this auditorium seeks to:

·      Bring our community together.
We see this as a beautiful space that would bring our community together and become a place that draws others to Benson for exciting and anticipated theatrical, musical and dance performances that they can experience. As a community space, we would welcome churches and other community groups to use it.

·       Enhance production experiences.
We could serve more students through our programs and expand experiences in lighting, sound, set design and other aspects of a production.

·       Host professional performances.
We imagine hosting professional artists to show students where their dreams could take them and provide meaningful entertainment for our community.

Similar auditoriums have been built across Greater Minnesota, including this one in Dassel, Minnesota.

Dassel

Posted by dzimmerman  On Jul 05, 2018 at 11:06 AM
  
More than 100 community members gathered Monday night to learn more about Benson Public Schools' Aug. 14 bond referendum and take a tour.  Leaders from the Community Task Force provided an overview of the process they went through to evaluate the school facilities and develop a next step plan to meet the needs of students and the community.  Click to view the slide presentation with more details.

During this first community meeting, leaders focused on the plans for a new auditorium and activity spaces. 
Future meetings will focus on another key components of the plan, including birth to elementary, school safety and collaborative learning. Click to learn more about upcoming meetings.

Overall, this project promotes the efficient use of the district's current facilities and update spaces to meet the changing needs of education. This project will add about 55,000 square feet, remove 112,000 square feet and updated a series of other spaces from early learning and elementary to junior high and high school.

Learn more about the plan.

Community at Referendum June 25 Meeting

Posted by dzimmerman  On Jun 29, 2018 at 7:57 AM
  
Benson Public Schools released the proposed site plans and artistic rendering for the updates for junior and senior high spaces under the 2018 school bond referendum. Key components include collaborative learning environments and other spaces for junior high, an auditorium, a band room and a more secure entry.

Benson High Site Rendering

Site Plan

This aerial provides an overview of the site changes to Benson High School. The new spaces are highlighted in dark red. The remodeled spaces are highlighted in light red.

Benson Site Plan Aerial


New Space Added
The highlighted space in the site plan below shows the new space to be added at Benson High School. 

Site Plan Showing New Space



Posted by dzimmerman  On Jun 27, 2018 at 5:12 PM
  
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