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More facility options added, some deleted

Two more facility options — with lower price tags than the first four options that were unveiled in April — were presented at a work session for the Brandon-Evansville School Board Monday night.

Lori Christensen and Jason Splett from ICS Consulting, Inc., the firm hired by the district to help assess its facility issues and needs, walked through the information with school board members, administrators, staff and community members.

Once again, each option included conceptual drawings with details about how the space in the buildings could be utilized. Those drawings, along with detailed information, will be posted on the Brandon-Evansville Chargers United website, www.bechargersunited.com.

Option E is similar to the previous Option C, but is being labeled as value engineered, which means corners were cut and costs were lowered. Option E calls for some renovation and new construction at the Brandon School, with all grades being housed in that building. Portions of the Evansville School would be demolished and the district would look at how to utilize that building, if at all.

Option F only includes some deferred maintenance projects, but would keep grade configurations how they currently are now.

Here's a breakdown of each of the two new options:

OPTION E

• Brandon PreK-grade 12 Value-Engineered — $24.9 million (includes renovation, new construction, sitework and deferred maintenance)

• Evansville — $654,000 (includes some demolition)

• Optional gym, locker rooms and daycare addition — $5.3 million

• Total — $25.6 million without gym, $31 million with gym

OPTION F

• Evansville grades 4-8 — $3 million (includes some deferred maintenance)

• Brandon PreK-3 and grades 9-12 — $12.6 million (includes some deferred maintenance)

• Total — $15.6 million.

During the meeting, the development committee broke into four groups that were asked to choose one of the six options and explain their choice.

Two groups chose Option C, which had a price tag of $34 million and included renovation, new construction, site work and deferred maintenance at the Brandon School and demolition of the Evansville School. With Option C, all grades would be housed in Brandon.

The other two groups each chose Option E, with one group adding the extra gym and the other group wanting the extra gym option to be left up to voters. Option E with the gym addition comes in $3 million less than Option C.

The groups that chose the less-expensive option said it was the best bang for the buck and had a more manageable price point.

One of the groups that chose Option C said the $3 million higher price tag would be money well spent on the educational needs of the students in the district.

The other group that chose Option C said the bottom line is cost and the favored option was Option C.

Christensen had members of the development committee narrow down the six options by putting colored sticky dots on options they liked best and options they did not want. Each member received two green dots to put on the options they favored and two red dots to put on the options they did not want. If they wanted, the development committee members could put both dots on the same option.

After the exercise was done, three options were eliminated — B, D and F:

OPTION B

• Evansville PreK-5 — $17 million (includes some demolition, renovation, new construction, sitework and deferred maintenance)

• Brandon 6-12 — $15.1 million (includes renovation, new construction, sitework and deferred maintenance)

• Optional gym addition — $4.7 million

• Total — $32.1 million without gym, $36.8 million with gym

OPTION D

• Brandon New PreK-12 — 44.5 million (includes new construction and sitework)

• Evansville demolition — $702,087 (includes demolition)

• Total — $45.2 million

The group decided to keep looking at Options A, C and E:

OPTION A

• Brandon PreK-5 — $14.9 million (includes renovation, sitework and deferred maintenance)

• Evansville 6-12 — $16.5 million (includes some demolition, renovation, new construction, sitework and deferred maintenance)

• Optional gym addition — $5.1 million

• Total — $31.4 million without gym, $36.5 million with gym

OPTION C

• Brandon PreK-12 — $33.3 million (includes renovation, new construction, sitework and deferred maintenance)

• Evansville demolition — $702,087 (includes demolition)

• Total — $34 million

Christensen gave the committee some homework and asked them to start thinking if there is anyone — businesses, organizations, individuals — who would be willing to donate to the school's building project to help reduce the cost to taxpayers.

She also said that they need to start thinking about whether they want to bring a referendum forward for the November elections, which she said would be the best time for one. If the board decides to move forward with a referendum, it needs to make that decision by the middle of August.

Community input meetings are being planned for June with another community survey expected to come out at the end of June. The next school board work session is planned for Wednesday, May 29 at 7 p.m.

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste is a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press and has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in June 2016 to report on the community she calls home. Besides writing articles for the Echo Press, she has a blog, “Newspaper Girl on the Run.” Celeste is on a continuous healthy living journey and loves to teach bootcamp fitness classes and run. She has participated in more than 200 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.

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