The Park Rapids Area School District has been engaged in a long-range planning process to meet goals set by our school board’s strategic plan. This process has revealed many important discussion items regarding the long-term needs of our community and school district.

We are excited to announce that a dedicated website has been created to allow our community to stay informed of the process as we continue discussions and prepare for our future. I strongly encourage you to visit www.PRoject309.org to review the fact-based information that is guiding us through the process.

I want to thank everyone who contributed to the conversations thus far, and I am excited to share some of the information that we have gathered!

Student enrollment projection

An in-depth demographic study was completed for the Park Rapids Area Schools which considered our population changes, economic factors, birth rates, and historical enrollment trends. We learned that the district has grown 6 percent over the past 10 years and is projected to grow another 10 percent over the next decade.

The projection is very important as it helps us understand our classroom and educational space needs for the future. It also confirms that we are a growing school district with a solid community foundation.

Stakeholder listening sessions

From the start of this process, it was very important to our board to gain input from all stakeholders (community, students, teachers, staff, school board and administration) in the Park Rapids area.

Through the input session process, we learned that all stakeholder groups shared some common priorities. These included (in no particular order):

  • high school and Frank White updates

  • Century drop-off/pick-up/parking

  • community use/community center space

  • improved security districtwide

  • classroom and specialty space.

In addition, external stakeholders had other common themes that included improvements to the technical education spaces, tennis court improvements and updates to the auditorium.

Internal stakeholders’ other common themes included addressing the bus garage, ALC space and moving early childhood programming over to Century.

This information will be used to assist in developing options to address the priorities outlined by all stakeholders. As of today, the board has not made any decisions. They will continue to discuss all viable options to come up with a plan that will be the most beneficial to our communities and future generations of learners.

Again, I want to encourage you to stay informed through this process. Please visit the website to obtain all the information as we move forward through the process.

Additionally, we will be hosting two community meetings to review the results of the stakeholder listening sessions and educational adequacy reports. The first meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 25 at the Osage Community Center. The second will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 26 in the Frank White board room.

If you are unable to attend a session, be sure to review the feedback and results on the PRoject309 site.

As always, we want to hear your feedback. Input from you is very important, and I welcome all comments, questions and feedback about the process and the future of our schools. Feel free to contact me if you have questions or comments.