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School board meets Monday, Feb. 11

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The regular meeting of the Gettysburg School Board will be held on Monday, Feb. 11 at 7:30 in the elementary school library.
A main item on the agenda will be continued discussion regarding the future of the high school building.
During the past few years, the school board and members of the community who form a building committee have explored options for the high school building. The groups have worked closely with the architectural firm of HKG Architects from Aberdeen to determine what steps are available to bring it up to current requirements for health and safety.
GHS was constructed in 1922. While it is structurally sound, it suffers a number of deficiencies, especially regarding accessibility and safety.
It was determined that the school has reached a point where something needs to be done, and both remodeling and new construction options have been discussed at length.
On Jan. 18, around a dozen people attended the special school board meeting where architects Dean Marske and Buffy King presented drawings with options for new school plans. After a lengthy discussion, they went back to the drawing board and presented updated options at another special meeting on Jan. 23 in the multi-purpose room. Nearly 30 people were in attendance to ask questions and discuss options. Also at the meeting was Toby Morris from Dougherty and Company, who talked about the tax impact the varying bond issues would have on the property owners of the district.
The way Morris explained it, the annual tax impact would be $300 for $100,000 of taxable valuation. That would be if the amount asked for was the maximum being considered, which would be around $7 million.
It was made clear that was on the high end. The amount needed to construct a new school, even on the highest end of the spectrum of plans presented, may not be that high.
He also said that all the property would be taxed the same. It is not taxed differently based on ag land, business, or owner occupied.
Consideration was also given to what would be done with the students if the existing school is remodeled. They would have to move to makeshift classrooms in other parts of the community.
With new construction, the students would be able to remain in the existing building while the work is being completed.
Construction on a new school would take a year to compete.
If the board passes a bond resolution at the February meeting, additional public meetings will be held to further educate the public about the need for a new high school building prior to a community vote on the bond issue which would take place in April.
If it passed the vote of the people, construction would begin in August, and students would move into the new school in August of 2014.
The school board and administration asked that patrons of the Gettysburg School District talk to their school board members or administrators to address any questions or concerns. As the layout details are worked out, the plans will be published  along with further information on the tax impact to the property values in the school district in order to better inform area residents and provide information on upcoming community meetings.
Other agenda items for Monday’s meeting include administrative contracts, negotiations notice, calendar, and administrative reports.
The meeting is open to the public and all those interested are encouraged to attend.
School Board members are Kay Schmidt, Matt Cronin, Paul Kellogg, Ryan Lake, Kimberly Schweiss, Kevin Geditz, and Brian Robbennolt. The principal is Wendy Smith and the superintendent is Tim Hagedorn.
–Molly McRoberts

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