Langdon Area School Board discusses improvements to LAS

Prior to the regular Langdon Area School District (LASD) board meeting, there was a building committee meeting to discuss the necessary improvements for the longevity of the Langdon Area Elementary School (LAES) and Langdon Area High School (LAHS). After past attempts to get county residents on board to build a new elementary school failed, the board is now looking at ways they can improve the function, operation, and maintenance of the elementary building that is in desperate need of some TLC and a few items at the high school.

Posted 6/20/19

By Melissa Anderson

The LASD building committee, composed of LASD Superintendent Daren Christianson and board members: Dawn Kruk, Steve Olson, and Chris Olson, met with the CTS Group who will be working as the district’s contractor. The committee and CTS Group reviewed options that were available to the school district to accomplish the goal of making the aging buildings more energy efficient as well as a healthier environment for the students and faculty. CTS Group representatives gave the committee members three options for ways to renovate the elementary school’s heating system and air ventilation. The representatives discussed the three best options for heating the school with the committee ultimately deciding on replacing the current boiler unit with a new one. Their reasoning being that the unit will last longer while also being easier to maintain in the long run.

The next portion of the discussion was adding air conditioning to the project, tacking on an additional $700,000 to the project cost. This was heavily discussed amongst those present as the benefits far outweighed the cost. CTS Group explained that by having the air conditioning in place, the building itself will have greatly reduced occurrences of humidity and moisture build up. This will help prevent any bacterial or fungal issues while also providing improved air quality. The dehumidification of the building will also give the structure longevity and provide a more comfortable environment for students to learn and staff to work.

The discussion then moved to how the school will pay for the project. The total cost of the project will be just over $5 million. The majority of the project will take place at LAES, but there are a few projects that would take place at the high school, including putting in a more secure entrance. The mills needed to pay for these projects would be about 12 mills. In addition to the current 3 mills that the school receives for general maintenance, the district will be asking for 15 mills total.

The committee brought the information from the CTS Group along with their recommendations to the full board during the regular meeting. The board agreed with the committee’s recommendation and set a special election for October 1, 2019. A super majority will be needed to pass the resolution, with 60 percent of those voting agreeing to the mill levy increase to pay for the projects.

There will also be a steering committee formed before the July meeting to advocate for the improvements to LAES and LAHS. The committee will be composed of the building committee members and 6 to 8 community members who will advocate for the mill levy increase to fund the projects.

During the regular board meeting, Christianson also presented a preliminary budget for the board to review. There were a few changes to the budget, one of which was a reduction as the school was informed of a miscalculation of $60,000 that decreased the amount of tax money coming to the district.

In Other Business

• The board canvassed elections and approved election results with Cindy Stremick and Steve Olson winning the rural at-large seats, Tyler Feist the city seat, and the voter approval to have the school board minutes published in the Cavalier County Republican. It was noted during the canvassing that there was a very poor turnout this year with less than 50 total votes being cast.

• The board approved all returning teacher contracts, the business manager evaluation made by Christianson, the pledge of securities, and the resignation of the LASD counselor.

• The board continued rescinding and updating school policies.

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