Ealier in the day voters in the Paynesville Area School District approved the referendum 667 to 493, a margin of 174 votes.
There were 110 new voters registered during the election with 1,161 casting ballots. There was one blank ballot cast. This compares to 1,919 that voted in the last bond issue that approved funds for the new middle school and the remodeling and new construction at the elementary school. The district has a total of 3,523 registered voters.
By passing the referendum, voters gave the district approval to move forward with plans that include a 499- seat auditorium, a 2,900 square foot fitness center, new bathrooms, and four new tennis courts. The building project also includes a new air ventilation system for the basement that will improve air flow in the locker rooms and wrestling room. The project will also allow the district to correct some fire code violations.
Troy Miller, architect for the project, informed the board at their special meeting Tuesday night that bids have been taken for soil tests and survey work. The low bidder for the soil tests was Braun Intertec, St. Cloud, who will have their report ready for the board in January.
Pat Flanders, school board chairman, said a big step taking place now is the soil sampling. "There is a lot of work to be done before work can start in the spring. The design plans need to be completed and then we'll have to sort out the bids for the various phases of the project," he added.
John Oliver and Associates, Elk River, will be doing the survey work for the construction project. The survey work is expected to be done by the end of December, Miller told the board.
"DLR's architectural design team will be visiting Melrose in the near future to fine tune ideas for the auditorium," Miller added. "They will then draw up specifications from which contractors can bid."
The bids for the tennis courts should be ready by the board's Jan. 21 meeting. It is hoped the new tennis courts will be ready for use sometime in June, weather permitting. "We'll start building the tennis courts as soon as the ground is ready in the spring," Miller added.
The board will serve as the general contractor for the project. The board has hired construction managers to assist in overseeing the project.
By ordering everything through the school district, instead of a construction firm, the district will not have to pay sales tax on any of the materials used, which will be a large savings by itself, Flanders said. "The construction managers helped us save a lot of money on our last building project," he added.
Bids for the auditorium and fitness center should be in by March. Work on the project is expected to start in the spring. The building project is expected to be completed by May of 2001.
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