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School district to ask for $59 million

The wheels are in motion for a special election that will determine whether or not Detroit Lakes will get a new elementary school and some significant district-wide projects.

Tuesday morning the school board approved a resolution that calls for the election Nov. 5. 

The resolution allows the board to authorize $59 million in bonds, should voters approve it.

That $59 million would go towards constructing a new K-3 elementary school,  improving security at the middle and high schools, constructing a new gymnasium, and upgrading the H-VAC system.

And it would pay for playground improvements, the reconfiguration of Roosevelt Elementary School for grades 4 and 5, the reconfiguration and remodeling of classrooms and construction of a new gym at the high school, the renovation of the building exterior, interior renovations and upgrades to existing classroom and gym spaces, lighting systems, outdoor space at the middle school and the reconfiguration of the parking and drop off areas at the middle school-Roosevelt complex.

It’s a long list of projects that touch nearly every aspect of the district’s properties, and one district leaders say is necessary for the future of the growing population of students in Detroit Lakes.

During the meeting, board members also took action to secure a location for the proposed new elementary school as they voted to approve entering into an agreement with Bob Bristlin for the possible purchase of Bristlin’s land north on Richwood Road.

As part of the agreement, the 40 acres of land will be taken off the market until the end of the year with the idea that if voters pass the bond referendum in November, the district will purchase that land for $545,000.

Bristlin’s fee of $15,000 for taking his property off the market will then be taken off the purchase price if the project gets the green light.

 If it’s voted down, the district will still have the option to buy the land or extend the agreement. Board member Ladd Lyngaas says community members had a lot of input while searching for the right location, which proved challenging.

“When you start looking at places to build you realize how many wetlands, lowlands, railroad tracks, airport flyways, natural gas lines, things that you have to deal with when you’re looking for land,” said Lyngaas, “It was a process;  it took a lot of time, and I’m happy with the piece that we found.”

Lyngaas says they discussed some other properties with landowners, but district leaders weren’t able to come to an agreement with them.

 “We spent a lot of time looking for options to make sure that we had enough space to build on — so that 40 years down the road it would be a good piece of property for the district,” Lyngaas added.