Pine Island Preparing for 4th Shot at Referendum

Posted at: 03/03/2014 5:49 PM
By: Sean Boswell

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- The Pine Island School Board held a meeting Sunday night to discuss their referendum plans, and they hope that by fall of 2015 to have a new facility and upgrades to their current one.

"Our students really deserve a facility that's going to allow them to go into the 21st century," said Joe Mish, a music teacher at the elementary school.

The Pine Island school district has been denied three bond requests since 2002.

"I've been here for 27 years and we've been here on this site that whole time, we've expanded to its maximum," said Mish.

Community members will vote on May 13th to decide whether a new pre-kindergarten through 4th grade school will be put up. In addition, renovations will be made to the existing facility and a new 600-seat auditorium will be put up, along with a new complex for football, soccer and track.

"When we compare to similar sized districts across the state of Minnesota, there are 64 and we are 64th in space per student," said Pine Island School Superintendent Tamara Berg-Beniak.

If the result of the vote goes in the districts favor, construction would move quickly. The new pre-kindergarten through 4th grade facility would open in fall of 2015.

"Students are not always able to do all the things they need to do because we don't have the computer lab space or elementary students or middle school students don't have access to some of the same things the high school has," said Mish.

Overall, the new building, renovations, auditorium and sports facility would cost about 40 million dollars. The cost would all be covered by taxpayer money and state aid. To those at the school, the investment is well worth the cost.

"Being in this facility we kind of have a 20th century school, but we're trying to look more at 21st century needs and a lot of these require space that we just don't have," said Mish.