USD 383 | Board gets ‘mountains’ of facilities feedback

By Dylan Lysen

The Manhattan-Ogden school board and BG Consultants have received “mountains” of feedback on how the school district should plan for future facilities, assistant superintendent Eric Reid said at the board’s meeting Wednesday.

“They have been going through mountains and mountains of data,” Reid said of BG Consultants, which received 1,500 responses to a USD 383 facilities survey. “Some of it is surprising, and some of it is not so surprising.”

The school board hired BG Consultants to help the school district craft a longterm facilities plan. The firm solicited feedback from district residents to gauge what they think the school needs to address in new facilities.

The school district also solicited comments and ideas from parent-teacher conferences, Reid said. The most common concern was about class size and parking.

“Those are two things you can almost etch in stone,” he said.

In a February public forum Bob Faires of Howard and Helmer, who is working with BG Consultants, told the audience that all of the elementary schools are either near or over capacity.

Reid said BG Consultants is expected to report to the board at its May 17 meeting. Darell Edie, board member, said he wanted to emphasize that the ideas and comments that have been shared so far are just brainstorming and nothing specific has been chosen. “If anybody hears anything out there, we’re just throwing out a bunch of ideas so don’t get scared,” he said. “There is a lot of interesting ideas and a lot of different feedback. There have been several different things from Pre-K all the way to Adult Education.”

He said he’s seen several suggestions that he would have never thought about.

“This is just brainstorming a lot of ideas, so don’t panic on anything you might hear,” he said. “But if you think they are great ideas too, let us know.”

In other business, the school board approved updating the computer network at Anthony Middle School.

The school district needs to evaluate and upgrade the computer network systems of several schools, but because of the cost it needs to take a phased approach, said Mike Ribble, director of technology. Other schools that need upgrades include Eisenhower Middle, Bergman Elementary and Manhattan High east campus, he said.

Since Anthony and Eisenhower middle schools were built 20 years ago, their network systems have not been upgraded. This summer Anthony Middle School’s network will be upgraded, and the summer staff will move to Eisenhower for the duration of the project.

Next year, Eisenhower Middle school summer staff plans to do the same.

For the Anthony Middle School upgrade, Ribble is recommending the school district approve the lowest bid of $77,000 from Parsons Communications of Manhattan.

The cost of the upgrade will be paid through the maintenance and information technology funds.

The board also gave initial approval to purchasing new textbooks at a cost of $244,000.

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