Volunteers help Grand Meadow expansion

Published 10:21 am Friday, September 4, 2015

Work begins on the parking lot for the Grand Meadow School expansion. Photo provided

Work begins on the parking lot for the Grand Meadow School expansion. Photo provided

Grand Meadow Public Schools is getting a little volunteer help in advance of its upcoming expansion.

Area residents and businesses are helping the district create about 180 parking spaces to replace some of the parking lot that will become a new gymnasium and classrooms.

“That is why we’re getting this done right away,” Grand Meadow High School Principal Paul Basel said. “We’re able to accommodate people coming to school to work, but also to have places to park when they’re coming to events.”

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Several Grand Meadow farmers have lent farm equipment and heavy machinery to haul away sod and other excavating materials as the district expands its parking lot west of the schools.

Valley Transportation has also donated its front-end loader as part of the work.

Since it wasn’t budgeted as part of the expansion, the parking lot project is paid for using district reserve funds and volunteer efforts, according to Basel, who called volunteers “extremely wonderful” for their willingness to help.

“It’s almost like it’s the norm in Grand Meadow, where if there’s a project or if there’s a need, people are willing to step up and help out with the problem,” he said.

Area voters passed a $3 million bond referendum for the 37,000-square-foot expansion project last November.

The expansion was made possible by a $3 million donation to the district early in 2014 after voters turned down a $13.7 million referendum to build a new school and phy ed complex to accommodate Grand Meadow’s rapidly growing student population. Though the district needs more classrooms, the new complex was the biggest priority as Grand Meadow could free up space for more extracurriculars.

In addition, the upcoming complex project could include four classrooms and a weight room for an additional $400,000. The four classrooms would help school officials shift space around to make room for additional elementary classes, as Grand Meadow’s elementary student population is growing faster than other student segments.

The district is seeking bids from area contractors and will award contracts at the Grand Meadow Public Schools Board’s Sept. 23 meeting.