Earlier this summer, the Redwood Area Board of Education facilities, equipment and land acquisition subcommittee met with representatives from Carris Health to talk about possible uses for land the school district owns east of the Inglis track and football complex.

During its Aug. 27 meeting the board further discussed the possibility of selling a portion of that land to Carris Health as part of its plan to build a new hospital complex in the community.

According to Jim Buckley, school board member, the reason that land was acquired in the first place was to ensure the school district had the capacity to expand.

“What we did not want to happen was for the school to be landlocked,” said Buckley.

That became an issue years ago when the Lincoln School in downtown Redwood Falls no longer met the needs of the school district, and it moved to the east edge of the community and built a new facility.

The question members of the board asked is whether or not there was enough land to sell off a piece of what it owns to the hospital and still have enough usable property for its future needs.

The hospital is looking at the portion of land owned by the school district that is currently being farmed. What is left was described as low land, and board members wanted to know just how much of that land could be used for future expansion. 

With that in mind, the school board directed John McNamara of Wold Architects to conduct a preliminary assessment of that land to determine its potential for future buildings.

The board also directed McNamara to look at the property west of the current Redwood Valley campus as a possible expansion site.

Much of the expansion discussion centered around the possibility of a future building project that would bring the elementary school program over to the area next to Redwood Valley, although discussions about other potential uses for the land were also addressed.

The land to the east is about 55 acres in size, said McNamara, adding the addition of a new elementary school would likely take up about 10 acres.

Buckley said the land to the west is approximately 14 acres in size, adding that is quite a bit bigger than the space the elementary school sits on today.

Bryan Lydick, current hospital CEO, told the school board the ideal would be for Carris Health to have a piece of land selected yet this fall, adding the initial plan would be to have the new hospital campus ready to be occupied in Summer 2021.

He added the school property the hospital is looking at is the largest chunk of a bigger piece land it is looking at east of the school.

Having the hospital that close to the school would be an asset for the district, said Rick Ellingworth, adding it could provide opportunities for students to learn, especially as it relates to the new career development and technology training center being erected.

He added with two of the community’s biggest employers adjacent to each other there would also be potential efforts to work together on meeting the needs of both entities, especially related to growing issues, such as childcare.

As the board has the preliminary assessment conducted, which McNamara said Wold could do at no cost, the representatives from Carris Health said they would work to put together a more detailed plan that would indicate just how much of the land east of the school it would need.

In other action during its meeting, the school board:

• Approved a change order for the Estebo Career Development and Training Center in the amount of $125,340. Some of the bigger changes in the order include a $24,318 addition to install new metal casework in the shop area, which McNamara said was initially requested, a $41,299 addition to replace existing doors and hardware in the upper and lower hallways leading to the new addition and a $22,183 addition to install new ceiling and lighting in the music suite vestibule. McNamara said with the addition of these costs the school district is still in good shape with the project budget, as it still has $194,000 in its contingency.

• Approved a request that would allow the Redwood Valley High School Class of 2019 to be excused from three days at the end of the school year. The days are May 17, 20 and 21.

• Approved the Minnesota State High School League representatives for the 2018-19 school year. They include: Clark Grannes, Andy Ourada and Paul Berggren.

• Approved a request from Taher Food Service to host a “Legislator to Lunch” site visit that would allow elected officials to see firsthand how the farm to school program works.

• Accepted the resignations of Elisa Gjermundson from her position as a high-school paraprofessional, Ally Carlson from her position as senior class advisor, Katie O’Connor from her position as an elementary-school paraprofessional and SACC assistant, Nikki Dow-Markuson from her position as an elementary-school paraprofessional, Bonnie Hoover from her position as SACC assistant, Heidi Linsmeier from her position as a preschool paraprofessional, Tina Peterson from her position as an elementary school paraprofessional, Jessica Austin from her position as BeFit wellness co-coordinator, Lyndsay Serbus from her position as BeFit wellness co-coordinator and Amelia Palokangas from her position as elementary-school media center paraprofessional.

• Approved the employment of Chaila Amundson as C-squad volleyball coach at a stipend of $2,567, Jared Wenisch as junior high volleyball coach at a stipend of $1,956, Heather Vranicar as 12th-grade co-advisor at a stipend of $542 and middle-school student council advisor at a stipend of $761, Kate Russell as middle-school yearbook advisor at a stipend of $761 and Aaron Gugg-isberg as head softball coach at a stipend of $4,558.

• Approved the employment of Andrea Moldestad as a Cardinal Kids Club assistant at a rate of $11.50 per hour, Margaret Regan as a preschool assistant at a rate of $11.50 per hour, Donna Luthens as a Kindergarten paraprofessional long-term substitute at a rate of $11.50 per hour, Lori Gawarecki as a middle-school special education paraprofessional at a rate of $11.50 per hour, Ashley Atkins as an elementary-school special education paraprofessional at a rate of $11.50 per hour, Grace Guggisberg as a high-school special education paraprofessional at a rate of $11.50 per hour, Samantha Dampier as an elementary-school special education paraprofessional and SACC assistant at a rate of $11.50 per hour, Page Ebner as a high-school special education paraprofessional at a rate of $11.50 per hour, Brenda Becklund as a SACC assistant at a rate of $11.50 per hour, Heidi Linsmeier as a Kindergarten paraprofessional at a rate of $12.21 per hour, Sydney Bladon as a middle-school paraprofessional at a rate of $12 per hour and Amelia Johnson as a Cardinal Kids Club and SACC assistant at a rate of $11.50 per hour.

• Approved the reassignment of Holly Johnson from her role as full-time Early Childhood program coordinator to full-time Kindergarten teacher. The change facilitates the districts need to move from four to five sections of Kindergarten for the 2018-19 school year to accommodate the projected enrollment of 97 students in that class. Ellingworth added the district is currently in the process of finding a replacement for the Early Childhood coordinator position.

• Approved a request to create and submit a safety grant request to the Minnesota Department of Education that would result in a security entrance at the Redwood Valley schools campus and a building wide perimeter security entrance system.

• Approved the employment of Ryan Dixon as a .1380 FTE Dakota language teacher at Redwood Valley High School at a salary of $5,589.

• Approved the teacher induction mentors for the 2018-19 school year. They are: Julie Rohling, Nicole Jorgensen, Ann Goche, Brian Pope, Naomi Prodoehl, Robin Beske, David Berner and Katy Eckes. Each will receive a $500 stipend.

• Approved the compensation rate for paraprofessional and community education substitutes for the 2018-19 school year. Those with less than three years of experience will receive a rate of $11.50 per hour, those with more than three years in the district will receive a rate of $11.75 per hour, those with seven to 10 years of experience in the district will receive a rate of $12 per hour and those with 11 or more years will receive a rate of $12.50 per hour. All rates reflect a 25 cent increase over the 2017-18 rate.

• Approved a request to compensate Nancy Rebstock, vision impaired teacher, with an increase of $4,000 for the school year as part of the teaching staff under the hard to find positions article of the collective bargaining agreement.