Hillcrest, Medary updates could cost district $45M-$48M

Courtesy images: Above left, consultants say Hillcrest Elementary needs an entirely new building as the current structure does not allow for a remodel. At Medary, there are three different options. First, shown above right, the school can be remodeled with a new addition. Second, shown below left, the school could keep the kitchen/common area and add on a large new addition that would include the rest of the classrooms and amenities to the south. The third option, shown below right, is to construct a new building entirely, south of the current school.

BROOKINGS – Architecture Incorporated, the firm tasked with the study of both Hillcrest and Medary Elementary Schools, presented again to the board on Monday night, this time providing cost estimates and proposed site plan layouts. 

Updating both schools could cost the district between $45 million and $48 million, a consultant reported.

The firm has presented multiple drafts of the study for the elementary schools done in the past few months, providing the board with details surrounding the needs of the two schools as well as some options to proceed. 

Hillcrest, according to Steve Jastram of Architecture Incorporated, needs an entirely new building as the current structure does not allow for a remodel. At Medary, there are a few different options. First, the school can be remodeled with a new addition. Second, the school could keep the kitchen/common area and add on a large new addition that would include the rest of the classrooms and amenities. The other option is to construct a new building entirely, like Hillcrest.

At the last school board meeting, school board member Wesley Tschetter said that the board needed some sort of cost estimate in order to move forward. At Monday night’s meeting, Jastram was able to provide some estimates. 

The total project cost for a new Hillcrest Elementary School will be approximately $25 million. The total project cost for the first option at Medary will be approximately $21.7 million. The second option at Medary would cost approximately $20.5 million. The cost for a new building at Medary, the third option, will cost approximately $23.3 million. 

Hillcrest is slated to be completed, if the timeline provided by Architecture Incorporated remains intact, by August 2024. Medary option one would be completed by August 2025, while either option two or option three would be completed by August 2024

“Any of those three options, in our opinion, will work for Medary,” Jastram said. “Each one has some advantages. The advantage of option two is that students don’t have to move around during construction and it actually gets done a year earlier.”

Jastram explained that before the board makes a decision in the coming months, members should get input from staff and the community. The timeline proposed by Architecture Incorporated provides that these meetings should take place in November and December.

“The more information you share, the better,” Jastram added.

Tschetter said that community meetings are coming “ASAP.”

To view Architecture Incorporated’s study and assessment of Hillcrest and Medary visit the following link: https://brookingspublic.ic-board.com/Attachments/0f3a0b83-4807-49c8-970b-3e0dbc97c459.pdf.

The next school board meeting is a workshop/meeting and is scheduled for 6 p.m. Nov. 22 in the Dakota Prairie Community Room.

Contact Addison DeHaven at [email protected]

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