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LP-A school looking to buy nearby road

If members of the Lake Park-Audubon School Board have their way, the city-owned street to the north of the LP-A Elementary School building – Marvin Street – may soon become school property.

At its Monday night meeting, the board directed LP-A School Superintendent Dale Hogie to pursue talks with the City of Audubon about having the city turn over ownership of the street to the school district, which would then make plans for turning it into an extension of the building’s existing staff parking lot, and a throughway for school buses.

Hogie said at the meeting that he saw a window of opportunity to explore this possibility after discussions between him and members of the Audubon City Council about the city’s plans to do utility and road improvements on the street.

He noted the council had originally approached him about the possibility of the district assuming responsibility for 65 percent of the total cost of repaving the street, which preliminary estimates had at $146,000. The city would assume the cost of the utility improvements, with property owners on the other side of the street assuming responsibility for the remaining 35 percent of the costs for the street improvements.

But earlier this month, Hogie met again with city officials, who said property owners had balked at the overall cost, saying the school district was the main user for the street and that it was not the primary access for their property.

As a result, they were asking the school to assume 75 percent of the paving and other street improvement costs, or about $109,500. After looking at the proposal, Hogie reasoned that the city might be willing to look at turning over the street to the district in return for the school assuming the full cost of the street improvements (though the city would still pay for the water and sewer improvements).

“We would have to maintain it (the pavement), yes, but if we get the extra parking space and a fixed up street for an extra $30,000…” said Board Chair Bryan Anderson.

“We should look into acquiring the street,” added board member Vicky Grondahl.

At the behest of Hogie, the board unanimously approved the city’s request to assume 75 percent of the street improvement costs for the project, because, as Anderson put it, they risked having the city make the utility improvements without resurfacing the road, if they could not get the adjacent property owners to agree to pay the remaining street improvement costs.

“We could risk holding up the project until next year… or having them fix the sewer and water and leave it as a gravel road,” he said.

LP-A Elementary Principal Sam Skaaland also announced at Monday’s meeting that, at the request of the Mahube-Otwa Head Start program, which funded part of the cost through a grant, there were tentative plans in the works to hold an Aug. 31 grand opening for the expanded and refurbished elementary playground – including a new concrete basketball court, which Skaaland said they hope to have installed by the end of the summer.

For the high school in Lake Park, the board approved an alternative design and placement for the new construction trades building slated to be built – by students in Cole Wixo’s construction trades classes – during the coming school year.

Original plans for the building called for it to be a 30x60 foot structure with 16-foot side walls, including a loft with a 20x20 foot space designated for use by the high school’s robotics program.

However, after reviewing the original site proposed for the building, it was determined that it would be sitting on top of a portion of the well field for the high school’s geothermal heating and cooling systems, as well as an irrigation line for the main football field, a storm sewer and a sewer line.

However, by attaching it the building to the north side of an existing garage would avoid all those obstacles, according to Hogie.

In addition, lowering the side walls to 12 feet and vaulting the roof to allow for a 12-foot high door, and eliminating the proposed loft while expanding the building to 40x60 feet, with a 20x20 space designated for robotics, they could keep everything on one floor, Hogie said – and possibly save on the overall cost of construction despite slightly expanding the building’s ground footprint.

The board approved the revised design.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 17 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.

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