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Community Survey Results

Borg Report May 22, 2023

I want to thank everyone who has taken time to engage with us on the district’s plans for facility improvements. Your input and feedback continues to shape the direction of our work. 

Last Wednesday, the School Board Facilities Committee reviewed the results of a community survey conducted by the Morris Leatherman Company. The purpose of the survey was to help the district understand the attitudes and opinions of residents of the Westonka School District regarding a potential facilities bond referendum.

School Board Facilities Committee Recommendation 

At the June 5 School Board meeting, the Facilities Committee will recommend that the board place a bond question covering $91.5 million of project costs on the November 7 ballot. As I’ve been sharing with you over the past year, we arrived at the scope of this work after listening to feedback shared with us along the way, including at staff, parent and community input sessions, and through the community survey that was completed earlier this month. We’ve been working with architects, engineers, and construction management firms who provided cost estimates for the proposed improvements. And if the bond passes, the construction projects will be publicly bid. 

Through our community engagement process, we have found strong support for the following improvements:

(1) Districtwide Safety and Security: Westonka’s number one priority is to provide a safe and secure environment for students and staff. To enhance safety, a bond would fund the following security improvements:

  • Grandview’s main entrance will be relocated to the front of the building and Mound Westonka’s main and north entrance will be redesigned. Both changes will increase supervision capabilities and control over who accesses the building. 

  • All schools will have the ability to go into a lockdown with zone separation at the press of a button.

  • All schools will install hardened glass in main entrance areas to help prevent unauthorized access.

  • All schools will install alarms and strobes that are automatically activated when a locked door is propped open or not fully closed.

(2) Districtwide Maintenance: Westonka Schools owns and operates four schools: Shirley Hills (1951), Grandview (1958), Hilltop (1964), and Mound Westonka High School (1971). Maintaining these aging facilities through a bond is essential to extending facility life and avoiding expensive and unexpected repairs. The Facilities Committee has identified each building’s top maintenance priorities that were not addressed in the 2011 bond. A few of the significant maintenance needs include:

  • Piping replacement for water and sewer 

  • Boiler replacement at Hilltop and MWHS

  • Air handling unit replacement or additions at Hilltop, Grandview and MWHS

  • Electrical upgrades (panels, feeds, fans, etc.) at Hilltop, MWHS and the transportation building

  • MWHS track, tennis court, and athletic field replacement 

(3) Redesign of Mound Westonka High School: Mound Westonka High School is the most heavily used building and activity space in our community. The original design is over 50 years old and many of the classrooms are undersized, reflecting how teaching and learning looked decades ago. Renovations will enhance the learning environment of our students and increase functionality. The campus redesign will:  

  • Include renovations to the entire building with the exception of recently renovated spaces (business education classrooms, the Transition Plus program, locker rooms).

  • Enlarge specific classrooms, including special education, allowing the spaces to work better for current needs.

  • Expand vocational options to include machining and nursing/emergency response programs, and a carpentry extension to our current woods program. Increasing vocational options will provide more career opportunities for students and a trained workforce for local businesses.

  • Consolidate mental health and student services into a new and appropriately private area. 

  • Enlarge the cafeteria and weight training areas, both of which currently spill into hallways.

  • Provide additional parking (located on current tennis courts) to improve the daily experience for students, staff and visitors.

  • Build 12 tennis courts in a new location to accommodate program growth; the courts will also be lined for pickleball to support community interest.

  • Reconstruct the track, install a synthetic turf field inside the track, and create a new stadium surrounding the track that will serve track, soccer, lacrosse, and football.

At the June 5 meeting, the board will receive the Facilities Committee’s recommendation to move forward with a bond referendum. With board approval, the July 10 school board meeting agenda will include an action item regarding placing a bond question on the November ballot.

November 2023 Election

In addition to a potential bond referendum, Westonka residents will see two other school-related items on the ballot this fall.

  • School Board. Four school board members will be elected to four-year terms in the school district’s special election. There is a two-week filing period from Aug. 1-15, during which candidates can submit their affidavit of candidacy to the school board secretary. Interested residents can call 952-491-8007 or watch the district website, westonka.k12.mn.us, for details closer to Aug. 1.

  • Capital Projects Levy Renewal. The district’s capital projects levy, which funds districtwide technology and curriculum needs and was last approved in 2014, is up for renewal. We will seek renewal of this expiring levy at its current authority (no increase).

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions or input on either the priorities being presented by the School Board Facilities Committee or the 2023 November election.

Sincerely,

Kevin Borg, Superintendent
borgk@westonka.k12.mn.us
(952) 491-8001