Get your No. 2 pencils out: LP-A residents to be polled on school facilities

Lake Park-Audubon School District residents will receive a 10-question survey later this week seeking their opinions on existing facilities and future needs.

Lake Park-Audubon School District residents will receive a 10-question survey later this week seeking their opinions on existing facilities and future needs.

The school board decided Monday to send the survey by bulk mail so as to get it to as many people as possible.

Respondents are asked to complete the questionnaire and return it to the district office in Lake Park by Wednesday, Feb. 15.

The results will be reviewed at the board's regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 22, in Lake Park.

The survey is part of the school board's plans to readdress either fixing or renovating the existing two buildings, or con-structing new facilities.


Voters rejected a $34 million proposal Dec. 20, which called for a new K-12 school at a neu-tral site somewhere between Audubon and Lake Park.

Afterward, the board and Su-perintendent Dale Hogie said they would reassess the situation and proceed accordingly.

Last month, the board and administration began putting those wheels into motion on two fronts: using the Buildings and Grounds Committee as the lead body on this issue, and discussing whether to continue with the ar-chitectural services of DLR Group, Minneapolis.

The school board has paid DLR $1,500 for work the firm has done since it was hired in November 2003.

DLR did a facilities assess-ment of the elementary and high school buildings, and then worked closely with a 30-member citizens committee ap-pointed by the school board to review that report and make rec-ommendations to the school board.

That committee recommended construction of a new school at a neutral site. DLR architect Char-les Orton attended three public information meetings and ex-plained why it was cost prohibi-tive in the long term to fix the current buildings, and the con-ceptual design of the proposed replacement.

The contract also specifies that DLR will assist the district through three public elections.

The school board is consider-ing ending the contractual rela-tionship with DLR. The school board and administration, based on their interpretation of the con-tract with DLR, believe that all they owe DLR is $1,500. Mon-day, Hogie said he would have the district's attorney review the contract to help determine what, if anything, the district may owe DLR.


Tuesday, Orton confirmed that he and other staff members have put in over 900 hours on the LP-A contract since being hired in November 2003. Orton said that labor has a value of more than $165,000, although the district has not been billed that amount.

Orton said DLR has not sent any bill to the district at this point. Board chairperson Vicky Grondahl said the district paid the $1,500 as the fee specified in the contract for services provided by DLR leading up to the Dec. 20 election.

Reasons for terminating the contract with DLR have not been outlined by the school board or administration.

Orton speculated that it may, in part, stem from the estimated cost of a new school. Some crit-ics at the public information meetings questioned the price tag, believing it was based on Twin Cities' costs and not rural Minnesota. Orton stressed the firm's cost estimates are correct, however.

Orton said the contract can be terminated at any time, and he expects there will be negotiations between both parties on a settle-ment.

Grondahl said the reason for the survey and resuming discus-sion only two months after the Dec. 20 election is that school board wants to continue moving forward on the facilities' issue.

She said it is especially im-portant for the school board to review crucial issues now, such as switching architectural firms, if a proposal is to put forward sometime this year for voter con-sideration.

Grondahl also noted that if the school board delays acting on the issue for a year or longer, con-struction costs will be higher than if the district undertakes some-thing this year.


District residents can return the survey to the school district office in Lake Park, either by mail or drop it off in person. A copy of the survey can be found elsewhere in this issue of the Becker County Record.

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