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Audubon school chock full of kids

With enrollment in grades K-6 at Lake Park-Audubon Elementary School projected to exceed 400 students in the next two years, space needs are reaching critical levels.

“We currently have three sections in grades K-3,” said LP-A Superintendent Dale Hogie. “With a third grade class of 62 students, we need another fourth grade room next year, another fifth grade room the following year, and a sixth grade room the year after that.”

At Monday’s meeting of the LP-A School Board in Audubon, board members agreed to solicit bids for remodeling portions of the elementary building to accommodate that additional fourth grade classroom, as well as to expand the lunchroom seating area.

To do so, a computer lab on the north end of the building would be converted into a classroom and a small special education room, while the current elementary lunchroom and adjacent media center would also be remodeled.

No cost projections for the project were made available at Monday’s meeting, though Hogie noted that he had given the architects a tentative figure of $200,000-$300,000 for drawing up the plans.

“Renovation costs are difficult to predict,” Hogie said Tuesday. “The board would wait at least until Zerr-Berg Architects and Gehrtz Construction Services provide a cost projection to determine how the project would be funded,” he added, noting that the actual cost would be the key factor in determining how to best fund the renovations.

“The board will wait until after bids are submitted before moving forward with the project,” Hogie said.

As he noted at Monday’s meeting, however, even if these projects are approved, move forward and are completed in time for the 2014-15 school year, it would be a temporary solution at best.

“We have two years in which we can stay in this current space, and that’s it,” Hogie said at the meeting. “We have no other rooms to go into.”

Also at Monday’s meeting, the board approved a four-year lease agreement with CSI Leasing of Chicago for the use of 450 laptop computers in grades K-8. The agreement will cost $93,781 per year.

Students in grades 3-8 would have use of the computers on a one-to-one basis, while grades K-2 would receive 30 laptops per grade level. The district already provides laptops for all students in grades 9-12.

Students in Lake Park-Audubon’s FCCLA program also presented highlights of their upcoming presentations at the state FCCLA conference, which is set to take place April 10-12. The district will be sending a total of 40 students to this year’s state event.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454