Belle Plaine Schools are one step closer to constructing their newest storage facility. The 40-by-60-foot facility has been the topic of many conversations spanning multiple school board business sessions in recent history.

The school board on Monday night, Nov. 11, voted to approve spending an amount not to exceed $140,000 on the facility with the possibility of revisiting the amount should bids come in over that figure.

Multiple local companies have submitted preliminary bids well below that figure, given that there may be a possibility that students may be helping with the project, saving the prospective contractors money on the project thereby lowering construction costs.

Director of Buildings and Grounds Jeff Heine is in the process of finalizing applications for building permits.

School leaders still hope to begin and complete construction this year.

Some of the $140,000 price tag will come out of the district’s roughly $775,000 general fund balance, but Superintendent Ryan Laager stated that he hopes to maintain over $500,000 for future advancements in career and technical education spaces, possibly in conjunction with other districts.

Live Streaming

The district may begin live streaming in the near future in response to an increasing demand from family members and other Belle Plaine High School sports fans out of the state.  The district has purchased a camera with streaming capabilities. The events, which may include school board meetings and theater performances in the future, will be streamed to the schools’ social media and/or website. A link will likely be available on the district website when an event is being streamed.

Vaping in School

and at Home

District leaders also reviewed their response to vaping devices in school in comparison with other districts, highlighting their approach which is not based on punishment but reforming students’ behavior.  According to Laager, when students are caught vaping in school, disciplinarians direct students toward an informational platform specifically dedicated to the dangers of vaping.

In February, the Belle Plaine School District will participate in a live-action scenario in which parents will get a chance to explore a mock bedroom to learn the spots students may hide their devices. The learning session, scheduled for February, is strictly limited to parents only and will teach adults about the devices’ design and scale, Laager stated.

Also on the Agenda

•   The school board and Laager discussed an upcoming town hall meeting with U.S. Rep. Angie Craig slated for Nov. 23. District social studies teacher Ross Nelson is slated to moderate the forum, which will take place at Oak Crest Elementary School at 9:30 a.m. Craig represents Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes Scott County.

• District leaders reviewed their theoretical response to migrant students entering the district. “Migrant,” in the context of education, refers to those transient students whose families have moved from one state or region to another due to seasonal changes in agriculture. Belle Plaine currently has zero students—who would have to self-report on registration forms—enrolled.

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