Bids for the last phase of a $55 million construction and renovation project at Detroit Lakes Public Schools — a $27 million upgrade to the facilities at Detroit Lakes High School — were approved at the Monday night, Jan. 13, school board meeting.

The board gave its stamp of approval to a base bid package of $24.2 million, plus another $2.5 million in alternates that were voted on separately. Board member Jane Foltz was the lone voice of dissension, voting against approving all of the alternates in one motion.

Foltz cited her objection to the inclusion of a $782,812 alternate that would add a third court to the high school gymnasium, noting that she would prefer this funding to be used for academic improvements, or perhaps upgrades to the facilities at Lincoln Education Center or the district's administration building.

Also at Monday's meeting, the board approved the inclusion of just under $750,000 in alternates for the ongoing construction projects at Roosevelt Elementary, Rossman Elementary and the Detroit Lakes Middle School, which are scheduled to be mostly wrapped up this summer. Construction at the high school, meanwhile, is set to get underway this spring, and will take another year to complete.

In addition, the board approved the calendar for the 2020-21 school year. Classes will start Monday, Sept. 14, which with the early end to the current school year set for Wednesday, May 13, means that school will be out for four months this summer, rather than the usual three months.

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The extended summer break from classes was planned, as the board felt it was prudent to give construction crews as much time as possible to complete upgrades to the district's four school sites while the buildings were largely unoccupied.