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A new roof approved for $1.4 million, mechanical is on the agenda for an additional $8.245 million

by Karin L. Nauber

The looming options for the Browerville Public School in the way of roofing and mechanical look ominous to those in the district who are concerned about the tax increase, what the work actually is and why they don’t get to have a vote on the issue. 

Those living in the former Eagle Valley School District who are also being burdened by not only the Eagle Valley debt that has to be paid off, but also the added tax for their new district, are especially at odds because if the $8,113,076 bond is approved, their taxes could raise disproportionately to their neighbors. The actual bond amount would be $8,245,000. 

To answer the question that many have asked, “Is Browerville doing this now because they will have more money from the increased district size?” is in short, “No.”

“This is a health issue. The indoor air quality standards have changed and our old equipment does not meet those standards,” said Browerville School Superintendent Scott Vedbraaten.

That is part of it.

Around October of 2016, before there was any talk or really an inkling that the Eagle Valley School would be forced to completely close its doors, the Browerville School District had hired a company called InGensa to do a facilities study.

“We knew we would have to redo the roof. It is around 25 years old and has outlived its life expectancy. The original plan was to do the roof sections—one per year—for the next seven to eight years,” said Vedbraaten.

Then the facilities study was done. The study covered everything from the hallways, to security to the tread on the steps. It looked at the inside of the building, the grounds and any outbuildings. In short, the study covered every aspect of the Browerville buildings and grounds.

Each part had to not only be looked at for repair issues, but also issues that would bring the school to full compliance with accessibility and safety.

“There were also four engineers here who looked at the heating, ventilation, indoor air quality and all over mechanical aspects,” said Vedbraaten.

After they knew what had to be done and should and could be done, they prioritized everything. The number one priority was the roof.

“Then we stopped looking at things because the situation with Eagle Valley came up. We knew their tax impact would be large. We asked ourselves, ‘Do we do the roof and try to hold other things off for five years?’ We didn’t want to triple the tax impact,” said Vedbraaten.

At the October 11 meeting of the Browerville School Board, the options for roofing and mechanical for the Browerville School building were discussed by the board. At that meeting, the board did choose to approve the roofing option for $1.4 million.

The roof itself will cost taxpayers nothing because they will use LTFMR to pay for it. Those funds come from state aid and the levy, so technically, taxpayers will pay for it, but the funds are already there and this money will pay off the roof.

The second option presented was for both roofing and mechanical...

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