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Work on new school rolls ahead

To take the virtual tour and view the schematic drawings, visit the New High School Project section on the school district's website at

Since voters approved funding last fall for a new high school in Alexandria, the design process and cost estimation is moving right along.

Lots of people have had lots of input on what the high school will look like and how it should be designed to best serve students and the community.

On Monday, the Alexandria school board heard updates on the project's status and preliminary construction budget.


The schematic design phase of the project is well under way - it's the first phase in the design of a project where an architect/engineer prepares schematic diagrams giving a general view of the components and the scale of the project.

Plus, the construction manager has attached a price tag to preliminary construction costs and shared those details with the school board.

The total project cost for the new high school is estimated at $70.5 million.

As of now, the preliminary price tag on the bricks and mortar portion of the project is about $61.8 million.

That includes costs like sitework ($9.9 million), building structure ($14.1 million), mechanical ($4.5 million), interior construction ($6.3 million) and more.

During Monday's meeting, the school board was told that $61.8 million preliminary cost is about $4.3 million or 7.5 percent over the original budget.

"It's a number that, at first glance, to me, isn't necessarily alarming," explained Project Manager Chad Rettke, of Kraus-Anderson. "If we were around 12 to 15 percent [over budget], that's where I would start to get really nervous. We'll continue to meet with the design team over the next six weeks."

Comparatively, Rettke said, at this point during planning for the new Wadena High School, that project was about 16 percent over budget.

"We all know where the budget is and where we need to be," he told the school board.

Rettke also told the board that initial results from the site's soil testing and geothermal feasibility are looking good.

The new high school will include Leadership in Energy and Efficiency Design (LEED) certification. LEED is the national standard for design, construction and operation of high performance "green" buildings. The certification is a higher standard for design and construction that promotes energy efficiency, environmental responsibility and creates a healthy environment for teaching and learning.


The board did not take action Monday night, but did schedule two special meetings in May to review and potentially act on the final project:

• Tuesday, May 1: The board will meet from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the district conference room to review final project cost estimates and design plans and authorize bid packages to be sent out.

• Tuesday, May 29: The board will meet at 6:30 p.m. to open, review and potentially approve bid packages submitted by contractors.

Superintendent Terry Quist said the goal is to have crews at the new high school site by mid-June.

To view the schematic drawings and take a virtual tour, visit the New High School Project section on the school district's website at

Follow #AlexMN @EchoPress Reporter and Osakis Review Managing Editor Amy Chaffins on Twitter at @TheOsakisReview.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

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