Elementary bond plan includes demolition of two schools, new middle school

Noah French
Thursday, January 23, 2020
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The school bond that will go before voters in the Glendive Elementary School District in March will include construction of a new middle school on the current Jefferson Elementary School site as shown at right. Plans for the Lincoln and Washington sites are below.

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The Glendive Elementary District bond that will go before voters in March will seek funding for a plan that looks almost identical to the plan presented in 2019.

The election will be conducted by mail, with the ballots going out to eligible voters on March 4 and with the final day to turn in ballots March 24.

Although the exact amount of the bond cannot be determined until official enrollment numbers are gathered in early February, the preliminary number passed in the bond resolution by the Glendive Unified School Board this month was $32,380,000. It was further estimated that tax impact on a $100,000 (assessed value) home would be about $16.68 monthly or $200.11 annually.

The Plan

The plan is the result of months of work by the school core committee, which included school administrators, teachers, board members, parents and members of the community at large. The school partnered with Johnson Controls and A&E Architects to help develop a plan.

The bond includes extensive plans at the Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington school sites, including the building of a new middle school at the current Jefferson site and going from three school buildings to two.

If the bond passes, a large portion of Lincoln Elementary School will be demolished, with the remainder of the building, the gymnasium and cafeteria areas, being preserved with the hopes that a local entity will be able to transform the school and the outdoor space into a community recreation center.

Cost/benefit analysis led to the conclusion that Lincoln Elementary School building has not been serving its students and staff well. Expensive operational and maintenance costs, combined with an abundance of non-functional spaces have turned the school building into a liability, according to information discussed during core team and public information meetings last year.

As part of the project summary, the current Washington Middle School site will become an elementary school for grades PK-4.

It was determined that the school building is well-suited to accommodate elementary students and will require minor renovations to transform the building for the younger student population.

This consolidation of the Jefferson and Lincoln elementary schools was chosen as the most cost-effective path for the programs moving forward.

Minor renovations are planned for the building’s interior to help finish and reconfigure the space where it is needed.

Mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems throughout the building will also be upgraded and replaced where needed.

The site will also undergo external renovations that will create an on-site parent drop-off loop, which will prevent traffic congestion, and an expanded playground and grass play area.

The Jefferson school property is planned to be the site of a new middle school, housing grades 5-8.

The middle school building will be built on the open land near the current Jefferson building, allowing the current building to remain in operation while the new middle school is under construction.

The new school is planned to be highly efficient, allowing Glendive students opportunities on-par with others in the state, according to information released by the district.

After the middle school building construction is complete, the current Jefferson building will be torn down to make room for a practice field and a safe and secure parent/bus drop-off loop and parking area.

Additionally, Jefferson site plans include rebuilding the elementary bus barn, which will have to be demolished to make room for the middle school.

The previous bond requests, which were both the elementary and high school districts, included a districtwide bus barn. The current bond will be for a bus barn for the elementary district only

“Obviously since we’re only doing one (bond) we really can’t share a bus barn anymore,” Superintendent Stephen Schreibeis said when he presented the bond resolution to the GUSB.

The new bus barn will have room for expansion, however, so that the high school may join in the future.

Election Details

Ballots must be turned in to the County Election Administrator’s office by mail or in person, during regular business hours, from March 5-23.

On Election Day, March 24, the only way to turn in ballots will be at the office of the Dawson County Elections Administrator from 8 a.m to 8 p.m.

Absentee ballot requests must be completed prior to noon on March 3, signed by the applicant and addressed to the office of the County Election Administrator requesting the ballot be addressed to another address other than the one that appears on registration records.

Reach Noah French at rrreporter@rangerreview.com.