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Wrenshall seeks second shot at referendum

Wrenshall School Board, facility committee members and residents have went back to the drawing board for another shot at passing a referendum after the previous proposal failed in April 2017.

School district voters shot down a $12.5 million bond referendum in April 2017 for renovations and an expansion to the pre-K-12 school. The referendum failed with 72.4 percent opposed.

The current $13 million referendum proposal is on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

Architectural Resources Inc. (ARI) has been working with the district to develop a long-range facility plan that includes problem-solving challenges and prioritizing needs.

The most important needs identified include indoor air quality, safety and security, updated technology and activity space.

There are several changes from the last proposed referendum. Instead of building a new cafeteria and administrative offices, the offices would be relocated near the playground entrance and the cafeteria has been crossed off the list.

Replacing the windows is necessary with the addition of a new heat and ventilation system in the elementary wing, but no insulation would be added.

The new proposal doesn't include a new fitness center. The middle school science lab would be renovated instead of replaced. The only new construction project on the referendum is a new game gym off of the current gym. The old recreation building is no longer proposed for demolition, but would be updated for the Industrial Arts classes.

Several items new to this proposed referendum include asbestos abatement; a new heat and ventilation system and backup boiler; replacing the roof; and tuckpointing on the exterior brick.

In addition to the $13 million total proposed referendum on the ballot, voters will see a second ballot question for the restoration of the swimming pool and locker room for $550,000. A third ballot question is for renovation of classrooms, technology and infrastructure for $1.78 million.

If the basic referendum passes, the estimated annual property tax impact for residents in 2019 on a house valued at $100,000 would be $149.

If the second question also passes, the additional amount added to the property tax would be $8.

If the third question also passes, that would be an additional $26 property tax increase to $183 on a $100,000 home.

The last meeting for the referendum is 11 a.m. Sept. 29 in the Wrenshall School commons area.

There were about 370 students at the start of the 2018-19 year.