The Board spent a majority of its meeting Monday night listening to Brad Simonson of HSR Associates with regard to the firm’s thoughts around a proposed new elementary school building. (Scroll past the video for more article text)

Simonson stated HSR is thinking of a 72,000 gross total square foot building. He considers that number a “good starting point,” but said the district may want to think about adding a few classrooms as there is no extra space built in for expansion. For comparison, the current middle/high school building is 118,000 square feet.

HSR met with elementary staff members, asked for things they thought would be beneficial to include, and incorporated some of those ideas (such as a science STEM/fab lab).

The board needs a dollar amount in order to approve ballot resolution language, which will happen January 21, but Simonson said it’s hard to come up with a dollar amount based on things not known about the site, as well as what the construction industry is going to be doing a year from now.

Simonson added that setting a resolution dollar amount doesn’t mean the district has to spend all of the money–it would be an amount “not to exceed.”

The site being considered is on district-owned property on the south side of the current middle/high school. The preliminary drawing shown by Simonson indicates the building would be detached from the middle/high school.

Board treasurer Larry Steffes asked about connecting the elementary to the existing middle/high school. Simonson said that HSR did explore that, but felt they were forcing the issue in doing so. A connected building could incur concessions in functionality, as well as additional costs. He added the true operational savings would only come if the buildings would share things such as a cafeteria.

Simonson said, for safety, he would propose separating the busses from the pedestrian and vehicular traffic and have one bus drop off/pickup for both buildings.

“We think highly of the site,” said Simonson.

He added the design thus far would be for a two-story building that is both functional and welcoming, featuring lots of natural light opportunities.

The range given by HSR for cost is $18.7 to $19.4 million. Simonson said he feels comfortable with the high range and reasonably comfortable with the low range.

Some board members felt those numbers were too high and would not be accepted by the community. Board member Aaron Dunn said, “I don’t want to be sitting here three years from now thinking we cut corners. We hired an expert to give us an estimate.”

HSR had a structural engineer come and look at the existing elementary building to get a feel for what foundation and water issues might be plaguing the structure. Simonson said, if a referendum for a new elementary building fails, and the district pursues the renovation/addition at the existing elementary school which was successfully voted on in November, he would suggest the district look at, perhaps, changing the location of the addition to help alleviate some of the water issues.

The Board will hold its final vote on the proposed referendum ballot language at a special meeting Monday, January 21 at 5 pm. Agenda here:

(This conversation begins the meeting)

Other business:

— Board held discussion and unanimously approved (with Andy Busch absent) space available, as detailed below, for open enrollment for the 2019-20 school year.

The state requires school districts to set their regular and special open enrollment caps in January of each year. Open enrolled students are those which do not reside in the Mineral Point Unified School District but choose to attend school here.

Regular Education Recommendations:

Kindergarten: Unlimited

First Grade: Six

Second Grade: None

Third Grade: Six

Fourth Grade: Three

Fifth Grade: Six

Sixth Grade: Zero

Seventh Grade: Zero

Eighth Grade: Zero

Ninth Grade: Unlimited

Tenth Grade: Fifteen

Eleventh Grade: Unlimited

Twelfth Grade: Unlimited

All open enrollment applications, both regular and special ed, will be given consideration on a case-by-case basis. This is especially important for families looking to open enroll into Mineral Point Schools with students spanning multiple grade levels.

The open enrollment application period runs February 4 – April 30. For more info, visit:

Special Education Recommendations:  For the purpose of accepting non-resident open enrollment applications for the 2019-20 school year, the following program limits are established for the District’s special education programs:

Early Childhood (ages 3-5): 8  

Elementary cross-categorical grades K-2: 10   

Elementary cross-categorical grades 3-5: 10  

Middle school cross-categorical 6-8: 12

High School cross categorical 9-12: 15 per teacher

The reasons for this are as follows: (1) There is a small degree of assumed error when making enrollment projections.  (2) At the time when open enrollment requests are approved, special education evaluations are still being completed and more students will likely yet be identified.  (3) The District continues to experience student transfers into the District through the start of the next school year.

Based upon these program limits, at this time, there are 0 spaces available for open enrollment in the early childhood, elementary, middle, or high school special education programs identified above.  

Because of current numbers of students with identified needs, current staffing levels, current contracted services levels and space available, the district will not accept open enrollment applications for students with the following needs:

– Students who require services for a vision impairment or a deaf/hard of hearing impairment

– Students who require occupational therapy or physical therapy.

(Go to the one hour, 46 minute, 30 second mark)

— Aaron Dunn will be serving as the Wisconsin Association of School Boards Mineral Point Delegate at the State Education Convention in Milwaukee next week. The Board unanimously approved directing Dunn to use his best judgement in voting for resolutions at the delegate assembly. (Go to the one hour, 44 minute mark)

— Unanimously approved the purchase of entrance doors for the middle/high school from Quality Door and Hardware in the amount of $14,117.80. (Go to the one hour, 59 minute, 30 second mark)

— Unanimously approved the purchase of a lawn tractor from Farmers Implement in the amount of $6,000. (Go to the two hour, four minute, 30 second mark)

— Tabled the approval of payment to FEH Design for referendum work completed prior to selection of a new architectural firm.

— Unanimously approved two possible calendars for the 2019-20 school year. The district applied for an early start waiver of August 26th should it start construction on an elementary renovation/addition. If the April 2 referendum for a new elementary school is successful, the district would proceed with the regular calendar, which has a start date of September 3rd. (Go to the two hour, seven minute, 30 second mark)

— Unanimously approved, with Basting abstaining, the credit card statement and bills payable. (Go to the two hour, ten minute mark)

— Unanimously approved the hiring of Christopher Clark as a high school instructional assistant. (Go to the two hour, 18 minute mark)

— Listened to the spring election timeline and building administrator reports. (Go to the two hour, twenty minute mark)

— The next regularly scheduled meeting is set for Monday, February 11 at 6:30 pm.