Project 309 is perhaps the most comprehensive education proposal to come before our community. I would like to highlight just a few of the components.
First is the reconfiguration of grades pre-K-8. Currently the younger students are housed separate from the other youngest in the Frank White complex. It makes sense to have these little people in the same environment.
This can be achieved by freeing up space and moving them to Century Schools. This space can be gained by relocating grades 7 and 8.
This will be accomplished by replacing the very inadequate Frank White facility with a new state-of-the-art grades 7-9 addition to the Area High School.
This achieves several educational benefits. It gives seventh and eighth grade students access to more advanced labs and programming. Also this new complex provides a much needed physical activity facility in a second gymnasium. When the current high school school was constructed in the late 1960s male sports prevailed and girls sports were minimal.
Currently the school district leases a bus garage from the Shell Prairie Fair Association. While this has served the school adequately in the past, it is no longer prudent to protect and service the significant investment in the bus fleet in a rented facility better suited as a livestock barn. Also every day, twice a day, every bus must cross a busy Highway 34 to transport students. It makes sense to have a school owned facility on school property.
With the resurgence in importance of Career and Technology Education opportunities for our students, it is imperative that the best of facilities be provided.
Over the last couple of years Park Rapids Area Schools has hired two Agriculture teachers. This has broadened the curricular advantages for our students by being able to add at least 30 new courses in much needed areas. The reconfiguration of the Area High School being proposed by the upcoming bond election can provide the necessary shops and space.