What Were the Options?

Evaluating the Options – A Community Process

To determine the new plan for the February 2018 referendum, a committee of community members and school district staff met frequently. During the committee process, community members had many ideas for how to address the overcrowding problem. Five of the best options were evaluated before settling on the proposed plan.

Option 1A

New Grades 9-12, 216,300 square foot, $68.2 million high school for 1,100 students. Existing high school becomes grades 6-8; existing middle school becomes grades 3-5; Prairie Elementary School becomes K-2 and partial ECSE/PK.

This is the selected option.

  • Most cost effective of the feasible options
  • Keeps grade configurations educationally sound
  • Accounts for current space needs while enabling future growth as well
  • Low disruption of on-going education and operations during construction
  • A long-term solution that supports the educational goals of the district and aligns with the district’s master plan

 

Option 1B

New grades 9-12, 208,044 square foot, $65.8 million high school for 1,100 students. Existing high school becomes grades 6-8; existing middle school becomes grades 3-5; Prairie Elementary School becomes K-2 and partial ECSE/PK.

Not selected.

  • Not practical/effective from an operational perspective due to high utilization rate
  • Does not adequately accommodate future growth – arguably relatively tight from day-1
  • Keeps grade configurations educationally sound – at least short term
  • Low disruption of on-going education and operations during construction
  • Does not meet the educational goals of the district or align well with the district’s master plan

Option 2

Addition(s) to existing high school to create 1,100 student capacity for grades 9-12. Addition(s) to existing middle school to create 900 student capacity for grades 6-8. New intermediate school with capacity for 900 students in grades 3-5; Prairie becomes K-2 and partial ECSE/PK. Creates 223,500 square feet of new space at a cost of $72.4 million.

Not selected.

  • Higher cost
  • Proposes major additions on already tight high school site
  • Puts pressure on core spaces within buildings (basic support pieces such as food service, storage and educational programming (electives)
  • Very high disruption of on-going education and operations during construction
  • Does not align with district’s master plan or meet future needs of the district with the need of activity spaces

 

Option 3

Addition(s) to existing high school to create 1,100 student capacity for grades 9-12. New middle school with capacity for 900 students in grades 6-8. Existing middle school with 900 student capacity for grades 3-5; Prairie becomes K-2 and partial ECSE/PK. Creates 238,000 square feet of new space at a cost of $77.2 million.

Not selected.

  • Higher cost
  • Proposes major additions on already tight high school site
  • Keeps grade configurations educationally sound – at least short term
  • Very high disruption of on-going education and operations during construction
  • Does not align with the district’s master plan or future needs of the district.

Option 4

Addition(s) to existing high school to create 1,100 student capacity for grades 9-12. Addition(s) to existing middle school to create 1,200 student capacity for grades 5-8. Addition(s) to existing Prairie Elementary School to create 1,500 student capacity plus early childhood. Creates 206,100 square feet of new space at a cost of $71.6 million.

Not selected.

  • Higher cost
  • Proposes major additions on already tight high school site
  • Alters preferred grade configurations
  • Very High disruption of on-going education and operations during construction
  • Does not align with district’s master plan and future needs.

Other Options: Many other options were discussed or reviewed, but were eliminated due to not meeting the needs, goals and direction to address the overall educational benefits to the educational system.

Click here for Option Details

Challenges at the existing high school

Worthington High School has served generations of students very well, is in excellent condition, and has much to offer. It does have some deficiencies, however, and there are advantages to reconfiguring it to serve middle school students. The high school site is small. The Minnesota Department of Education recommends a 45-50 acre site for a high school serving Worthington’s enrollment. The current site is just 25 acres. The site is deficient because it does not provide adequate green space for fields, parking, stormwater management, outdoor learning, etc. Adding on classrooms and more students will constrain the site further. Something would have to move off-site for more students and classrooms to move on.

Efficient. Effective. Economical Solution.

After evaluating all viable options, the committee discovered that building a new high school is roughly equal to or less expensive than all other options considered, including building additions to existing buildings. Not only is it less expensive, but a new high school is new. The current high school is in excellent condition, but it is too small for current and future enrollment needs. A new high school is an investment that will last decades, whereas adding onto all of our existing buildings will not. The same reconfiguration of schools as proposed in 2016 would take place, with grades PreK-2 (and Community Education) at Prairie Elementary, grades 3-5 at the current middle school, and 6-8 at the current high school. West Learning Center would close and be torn down.

For details about the referendum see our Fast Facts Flyer