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Groundbreaking for the Northside Elementary project was held Tuesday afternoon.  Thank you to our youngest learners, construction team, teachers, and school board members for taking part in the ground breaking ceremony as we prepare for construction to begin at Northside. We are so excited to have dedicated space for the wonderful preschool programs, including the Discovery Kids Childcare Center, all located at Northside. These are going to be amazing spaces for student learning and development!
Posted by lori.eix  On Aug 28, 2019 at 9:01 AM
More than 65 community members gathered Wednesday night at Northside Elementary to learn more about the school district's growing preschool and elementary programs and facility plans to meet key needs. A panel of educators shared how Benson Public Schools has seen increased demand for early learning programs in the community. Last year, Benson Schools... Served 87 percent of the local 4-year-olds in its preschool program. Educated 70 kindergarteners, representing the largest class at Northside Elementary. Added early learning and child care services for infants and toddlers to fill a community gap and ensure the youngest residents will be school-ready. (Current wait listing) Equipped 179 children through the Discovery Kids early learning program. Served more than 400 students in PreK-5th grade. A new dedicated early learning center, parking lot , secure entry and elementary cafeteria are among the key components of the school referendum plan that the community will vote on Aug. 14 as a part of the primary election.  Click to view slide presentation with more details. Click to learn more about the plan.
Posted by dzimmerman  On Aug 28, 2019 at 9:00 AM
Below is a construction update as we prepare for back to school. I want to make sure everyone is informed of what is happening and what everyone can expect. Let me know if you have any questions.  The Auditorium has been demolished and filled in. Demo went as planned. The exposed doors on the west wall of the junior high have been secured both from the inside and outside with insulation in between. The doorways are secure and safe. Dirt work is being completed at BHS to prepare for footings. This work will be completed before students return. Bid opening for the BHS project will be August 22nd. The board will meet on August 28th to award bids. There will be 38 different bid categories, so many contractors. No more work is scheduled at BHS until mid-late September once bids are awarded, contracts signed, permit received from state, etc. Door #2 by the BHS office will be in use, though it will be walking across plywood. The main entrance will also be open. Safety walls will be installed in the hallway up the ramp toward the junior high so it is ready for work on the exterior wall. The hallway will be narrowed. Remember that 14th street and Elizabeth Ave north of BHS will be one way streets. School buses will be unloading and loading north of BHS. The entrance by the junior high will be open for the school year. All BHS entrances and junior high will be open for Open House and into September. At NS all entrances will be open for Open House. After Open House safety fencing will be installed so the main entrance will not be usable. Safety fencing will also be going up on the west end of NS. Most of the East of NS will still be available for staff parking. Parking will be the same at NS as last year expect for about 6 slots. The new parking lot will not be constructed until the summer as to not take up playground space and for safety. There will be a “Ground Breaking” Ceremony at NS on August 27th at 2:00 p.m. Significant work on the exterior NS will begin the end of August. Remember that the street in front of NS will be a one-way going west. Signs will be posted before school starts.   Sincerely, Dennis Laumeyer Benson Public Schools Superintendent
Posted by lori.eix  On Aug 09, 2019 at 1:20 PM
Starting Wednesday, June 19th, the circle drive at Benson High School will no longer be available. Security fencing will be installed. Access will be from the high school parking lot entrances. The main doors will be open to enter the high school. Please use care when entering and exiting near construction sites.  Construction will take place in various phases and areas at the high school and Northside Elementary until completion, expected in 2021. Please share this information with students, family, friends and community members and remember to use extreme caution by keeping a safe distance from construction sites. We appreciate your cooperation and respect for the safety of everyone involved in this exciting project for our school and community! Sincerely, Dennis Laumeyer Benson Public Schools Superintendent
Posted by lori.eix  On Jun 26, 2019 at 6:50 AM
East Gym construction continues to progress.  Attached is a photo with the wood floor installed.  The next steps are to stain part of the floor and paint lines.  Bleachers will be set on May 28th.  The East gym is scheduled to be ready for use on June 1st.  Bid Package #1 was opened on May 16th.  This bid package includes site preparation, excavation, and demolition at BHS.  Bids came in under budget so if there are no major surprises, we should stay on budget.  The plan is for the auditorium to be demolished this summer before school starts. The architects and engineers are working hard to finish drawings and specs for NS work.  The NS bid package is expected to be released in early June and bid opening mid-June.  We hope bids come in favorable.  Work is expected to start in July.  There will be some inconveniences at NS during construction.  The main front doors will not be usable due to construction and parking on the East side of NS will be used for construction equipment and materials.  Attached is a NS rendering. BHS bid package is expected to be released in August with work to begin in September. The 10,000 gallon fuel oil tank outside the BHS cafeteria was removed to be ready for site preparation and excavation for the auditorium.  It is exciting to see all of the planning coming together and people getting to see exterior construction starting!  Thank you in advance for your patience during the construction process. Benson is going to have amazing spaces that everyone will be proud of. Thank you for all of the staff input on this process.
Posted by lori.eix  On May 16, 2019 at 9:29 AM
East Gym: Progress is being made on the East Gym remodel. As shown in the attached photo, the ceiling has been painted and baskets are being mounted. They are also painting the walls. Electrical has been roughed in. Lights are scheduled to be installed the week of March 25th. In addition, the second attachment shows workers replacing the roof. Fortunately bids came in lower than expected and the roofing project was able to be included in the overall gym remodel. The roof was in need of replacement.   East Gym: For many years there has been a water leak into the East Gym space. To prevent any damage to the new wood floor, the architect and engineer are finalizing plans to mitigate the water issue. Most likely it will involve digging a trench at the south and east walls, adding water barrier, adding drain tile, and filling back in. The plan is to have the exterior water mitigation work completed in the next 2-3 weeks and have the floor installed in early May. The bleachers are scheduled to be installed mid-May. Main Construction Project: After many meetings September 2018-March, 2019 the architects and engineers are working hard completing drawings and writing specs, though there are still details and meetings to be held. Bid Package #1 – BHS site work is schedule to go out in April with a May bid opening. This bid package will involve demolition of the auditorium and related site preparation work. NS bid package is scheduled for June release and the BHS bid package is scheduled for July release.
Posted by lori.eix  On Mar 28, 2019 at 1:48 PM
East Gym: Construction is underway on the new “East” Gym. Part of the construction project will include repaving, and most likely redesign of the BHS parking lot. For more safety and efficiency we are looking at having busses pick up and drop off on the north side of BHS and parent pick up on the south side of the school. There will be work required to make bus drop off and pick up on the north side, perhaps making that street a one-way. Preliminary discussion has been held with Chief Hodge and SRO Paula Wilson. More information will be coming as this phase progresses.   Northside Addition: The Benson City Council approved a conditional use permit at Northside for the cafeteria addition and the preschool addition to be within the set-back limits. This is a big step forward. We thank the city council and Mayor for their support.   Design and layout meetings continue:  Preschool staff met with the architect to continue design work. Two teachers are going to the new elementary school (Lakeland) in Willmar to get design ideas for classrooms. Preschool staff visited another site to get ideas. There was a meeting on the auditorium as well with the architect and engineer. Much time was put into the auditorium sound and light needs. There is a tremendous amount of detail in an auditorium. Thank you to Brock and the auditorium committee for visiting other auditoriums to get ideas and be prepared.   The school board worked with the architect and engineer to decide on mechanical systems at the NS additions and at BHS.   The school board will be holding a work session. One of the agenda items will be to get an update on the auditorium from the architect, engineer, and Brock.   The Construction Manager (CM) is analyzing the drawings to this point. He will be contacting area contractors to get real time costs on different parts of construction. The CM will be giving a budget report and timeline to the school board at the February meeting. This is the job of the CM, to make sure the project is on budget and completed on time. This will be their first report, with more to follow as we work through construction.   The plan right now is to demolish the auditorium before school begins for the 19-20 school year. If this happens, the main BHS entrance may not be available for the school year. This is not definite, however it may be a possibility.   The NS main entrance may also be disrupted as construction happens on the cafeteria. Still working on options at NS.   Please know that parking will be limited around BHS and NS during periods of construction and we may have longer walks to get to the buildings.   While nothing is visual at this point, much progress is being made and many exciting things happening. Thank you to the staff for how prepared you have been for design and layout meetings and for having open minds to new ideas. This is fun and exciting stuff happening in our schools!   While the footprints (layouts) of the main construction areas are pretty well finalized, some of the interior work is yet in design phase.  
Posted by lori.eix  On Mar 28, 2019 at 1:43 PM
​East Gym​: Breitbach Construction gave an update on the East gym project. Initial wiring is completed and fire suppression is completed. Painters are now painting the ceiling. Basketball hoops are scheduled to be mounted next week and electricians will begin to hang lights. Water has come through the block onto the floor. This has been an ongoing problem. Breitbach is putting together a plan to mitigate the water infiltration so not to damage the wood floor. Likely, this will mean digging around the foundation, applying a water proof sealant to the exterior, putting in drain tile, and then filling with rock to drain. Grade for the original building was to be 2’. When the choir room was added, the grade went to 5’ so it is suspected that water proofing went up 2’, but not 5’. Plans for the main projects continue to move forward. Drawing and specs are being worked on. Bid package #1 – BHS site prep work is scheduled to be released in April, with bid opening in May. This includes demolishing the auditorium. CM Agreement: The board approved the Construction Management Agreement. ARY Agreement: The board approved the agreement with ARY (architects).
Posted by lori.eix  On Mar 28, 2019 at 1:39 PM
Art Room Change:  Art teacher Jenessa Grossman transitioned to a new classroom (room 412) at the beginning of second semester. The kiln has been set and wired right outside the room in the welding shop, outlets have been wired in the room, cabinets removed, projector mounted, and countertop and sinks removed from the current art room and installed into the new art location.   Old Art Room:  Band will move into the current art room during the time of the auditorium construction. The move will begin once Art is situated in the new room.   Current Auditorium:  The tentative plan is to demolish the auditorium before the 2019-2020 school year begins. We are discussing options for the ALC location. With the plan to demolish the auditorium this coming summer, we want to have everything moved out of that space before the end of the school year.   Builders Risk Insurance:  From the on-going category of “we don’t know, what we don’t know”. School districts need to carry Builders Risk Insurance both to cover on-site materials as well as “Soft Cost” Risk Insurance. Dave and I are working with the district insurance broker to secure insurance for these areas.   Bond Funds:  Bond Funds were received on December 6th and have been invested with PFM. Following the initial draw schedule, the funds have been invested in a mix of short and long term accounts. Liquidity is important so the district has funds to pay invoices as they come in, but invest long term to maximize return. School Districts are very restricted in where funds can be invested.   Gym Remodel:  Contracts are being prepared and contractors have ordered performance/payment bonds and insurance certifications. Pending the final building permit, contractors should be ready to go on the gym remodel the week of December 17th.  
Posted by lori.eix  On Mar 28, 2019 at 1:38 PM
The East gym project continues to move forward. Looking at the construction timeline, all of the indoor remodel and mechanical work is scheduled to be completed during the summer of 2020. To ensure that all of the construction is completed, school calendars will be adjusted to provide 16 weeks of construction time during the summer of 2020. School calendars for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 will allow for 16 weeks – or “Summer Slam” - as contractors refer to these summer school projects.
Posted by lori.eix  On Mar 28, 2019 at 10:32 AM
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