Before I go into the next chapter of our school district history, what I call the Mason years, I thought I’d share with you what has been done to our school buildings in recent history. The city of River Falls has been keeping building permits since 1960; however, they did not seem to keep track of what the district was doing to their buildings prior to 1979. I am not commenting on whether that the construction was right or wrong at the time, I just wanted to get the numbers out there, so everyone can see what has been done since 1979, including at St. Bridget’s School. It is not officially part of the district, but is another school where River Falls Students go and is shown in comparison to district school buildings. The buildings are listed in order in age from newest to oldest.
New High School:
The new high school permit was submitted on April 5, 2000 at a cost of $26,000,000, which still will not be paid for for another 9 years. In 2002 a $30,595 cold storage building was built. Pluming alteration cost $20,000 in 2003. Since then $11,000 is involved in wiring issues and upgrades, $7,500 on a concession stand and $4,000 on a shed to cover a pumping station. Total = 26,053,096
School District Offices:
The district offices were constructed in 1993 at a cost of $517,000. In 2002, the roof was replaced and offices were rearranged and computer systems were upgraded for about $22,500. Total = $539,500
Rocky Branch Elementary School:
The Rocky Branch school permit was submitted to the city on November 27, 1990 at a cost of $3,200,000. The only other permit filed was in 1994 when that was converted into five classrooms (it originally was going to be the location of the central offices) as $135,357. Total = 4,335,357
School Bus Garage and Maintenance Building:
The only permit on file was these buildings original construction in 1984 at a cost of $154,980
Westside Elementary School:
The earliest permit on file was submitted on August 16, 1979 to construct the portable classrooms at a cost of $116,000. There were pluming alterations in 1995, 2000, 2003, and 2010 at submitted costs ofÂ $2,000, 1,000, 3,000 and 1,085 respectively. Roofing costs were submitted in 2002, 2003, and 2004 at costs of $8,500, $61,000 and $170,000. A shed was added in 2005 at $1,430. Total = 362,585
Meyer Middle School / River Falls Senior High School:
The earliest permit is from 1983 for a 10 x 12 storage building that cost $1,295. A new parking lot and tennis courts were added in 1986 listed as $65,000 cost. An addition to the high school was added in 1986 and 1987 costing about $3,593,495. The American Legion added dugouts to the ball fields in 1991 at about $1,000 cost.Â The conversion of this building to a middle school cost about $500,000. The Roof was redone in 2004 at a cost of about $120,000. Total = 4,280,790
Greenwood Elementary School:
Portable classrooms that were added in 1987 cost the district about $15,000. A major addition to the building in the northeast was listed as $1,227,020 on April 27, 1990. Phase two of the addition was done in 1991 at an additional cost of $1,500,000. A 2003 alteration to the electrical and walls installed to divide spaces cost $5,000. The roof was redone in 2005 at a cost of $75,000. Finally in 2010 a permit was filed at a cost of $40,000 to enlarge door opening to accommodate a new boiler and enlarge concrete area well. Total = 2,862,020
St. Bridget’s School:
The earliest permit here dates from 1979, a $25,000 roofing permit. Roofing and fuel tank installation in 1985 cost $50,500. $39,500 it the total cost to windows and replacing doors in the gym in 1990 – 1991. Another permit filed is from 1999 when electrical, windows and a roof was redone on the gym at a cost of $59,550. Various plumbing and electrical projects were done in 2000, 2001 and 2002 costing 11,092. A $15,000 remodel was done in 2001 which converted stage area to offices among other things. The boiler was replaced and some plumbing work was done in 2009 at costs of about $5,000. An office remodel done in 2010 was submitted at $30,000. Total = $224,550
River Falls Academy / Meyer Middle School / River Falls Middle School / River Falls Junior High School
Finally the building with the most names in the last 25 years has had many changes to it recently, despite what some might say. The first permit on file is from April 19, 1979 which was a remodel to the Junior High School for $5,000. Windows were totally replaced there along with other changes to make the building handicap accessible in 1981, but there does not seem to be a permit attached to this project that I could find. Another major remodel was done in 1985 – 1986 costing at least$245,550. This was when the elevator was put into the building. Railings were changed and electrical wiring was updated in 1986 also with a separate permit in the Junior High for $4,000 cost. The addition to the south side of the River Falls Middle school is listed at a cost of $1,538,265 and was done in 1990 and 1991. Not only was there the addition added at that time, there were also upgrades to some of the electrical and heating systems and major changes to the stairways and doors mandated by the fire code. These projects cost the district and taxpayers $168,000.Â $40,000 was spent in 1997 to remodel the cafeteria into classrooms and remodel one bathroom for handicap accessibility. After the 1998 referendum went through extensive electrical, fire safety, elevator, and bathroom renovations were completed at a cost of up to $450,000. Part of that amount was $40,000 in 1999 as electrical upgrades to the Middle School, and $50,000 was spent in remodeling bathrooms on the north side (R. A.) in 2002. A $1,500 gazebo was added in 2005.Â $75,000 was spent on the roof in 2005 as well. Just last year electrical upgrades were done on the building costing $3,000. Updated Total = 2,450,815
The information is provided to just give you a broad overview of the recent costs to River Falls School buildings. The approximate money spent on new construction on all on district buildings over the last 32 years is $41,039,143. If you take out construction of the new high school the number is $14,986,047. Even considering inflation, the $38,860,000 cost seems high, no matter if you support the Academy building or not. The district has verified extensive electrical, fire safety, elevator, and bathroom renovations done totaling up to $450,000 since 1998. In the last 32 years there has been at least $1,000,000 in renovations to the older parts of the Academy that are slated to be destroyed. If you look at the details of the new proposed cost to remodel the Academy building there are many items that are really not necessary and seem to be done just for asthetic reasons with no real practical purpose. This is especially true of their number to remodel the Academy, but is true in every building’s number.
I will comment on some of these alterations again as I get to them in the school district history I am posting here, that I hope to get up to present by the vote in April. Remember again a Case for the Academy at the River Falls Public Library on March 29th 7 p.m. Set your calendars.