Next steps in Colman-Egan school expansion
Community meetings planned Oct. 16 and 18
No athletic complex for now, but two more classrooms than originally planned.
That is the bond question that will be put before voters this fall in the Colman-Egan School District.
Members of the CE School Board this past week voted to approve a ballot measure that will ask residents throughout the district to help finance a 20-year $6.3 million dollar bond that will finance the expansion of the Colman-Egan Schools complex.
Construction would start this next year. Completion would most likely happen before the start of the 2025 school year.
The expansion, originally proposed to include four classrooms and a flex learning space, will instead now include six new classrooms and the flex learning space.
The change in plans comes as the district tries to be proactive rather than reactive as more students enter the district each fall. This year, Superintendent Scott Hemmer told the board, the school added another seven bus stops in the Egan area alone, “and there are acreages popping up all over the district.”
Board members said that they didn’t want to be short on the space they might need and have to come back in five years to ask for additional funds for another expansion — the Colman area continues to see population growth and new homes filled as fast as they can be built.
“I don’t know how fast we’re going to fill it…but this year we’re up another 10 students so that’s about 3.3% growth. If that continues, five years from now we’re at 350. Ten years we could be at 400. From five years ago, it’s (student population) grown 21%,” said Hemmer.
While the additional classrooms come at the expense of also asking voters to additionally support the construction of a new athletic complex, the board felt it was the right decision to make.
“Our number one priority is the expansion,” said Hemmer. “But I still think the track and football field would be beneficial and probably a need for the district. I’m not trying to sell you on it right now but there are only three or four schools within the conference that don’t have a track.”
There is community support to grow the resources for the Hawks athletics programs,. Board members were confident that they can work outside of the bond to find alternative ways to look at options to construct a track and football field complex.
“I don’t want to confuse the issue and have the whole thing fail,” said Board President Kirsten Taggart.
The bond would need 60% approval to pass. Out of 792 postcards sent to residents within the Colman-Egan School District earlier this summer, 626 returned the survey on what they might support. Responses primarily were in favor (70%) of the building expansion, classrooms and weightroom.
Community meetings are being planned for October 16 from 6 to 7 pm and October 18 from 12 noon to 1 p.m.
As much accommodation as possible will be made for area farm families to attend given it falls during what is typically the height of the fall harvest season.
The expansion would include approximately 13,500 square feet of classrooms, restrooms, storage rooms and a weight room/fitness room.The new weight room that could potentially be open to the community when it’s done.