The Shenandoah School Board is reviewing plans to see how much more room to roam students and the public could have in new district facilities.

Shenandoah School Board Monday, July 8 reviewed plans and concept from DLR Group and Carl A. Nelson and Company for a proposed STEM facility and fitness center at the high school campus. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math which related work and studies are gaining momentum across the country.

The idea is part of a proposal of facility improvements the board started earlier this year.

“Over the last several months we have made strong progress toward developing a consensus on the project and concept drawings. Now that we are at this point, they can work on the schematic design and we will be able to develop a more concrete budget and begin the process of soliciting additional feedback on the proposed work,” stated Shenandoah Superintendent Dr. Kerri Nelson after the meeting.

Nelson explained the STEM idea will be an option for vocational education with today’s labor pool.

Another project is a 1,250 square-foot fitness center as an expansion of the high school’s weight room. Nelson said the expansion would complement the weights with cardiovascular-related needs. There is not enough room in the weight room now to add those things.

Cost is a driving factor for the entire project.

“Travis Squires, a representative from Piper Jaffray, joined us to discuss financing options the district can leverage. He reviewed with the board the current state of the district’s finances, the use of SAVE funds and ability to borrow against these funds, and the various scenarios of how a bond issue might affect the tax levy. These are critical conversations in the planning process,” Nelson said.

Input from the community is key to determine the success of the plans.

“We want to make sure that the projects we move forward are clearly needed and helpful for our students, that the district will remain in a healthy financial position, and a solid and reasonable financial plan is in place,” Nelson said.

Nelson estimated a preliminary budget will be finished in as long as three weeks.

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