Brainerd School District To Possibly Acquire Land For Additional Parking Needs
On April 10th, 2018, a $205 million plan was approved to expand the schools in the Brainerd School District. The high school will be remodeled bringing all four grade levels under one roof, along with a new gymnasium and fine arts center. The new fine arts center will destroy over 100 parking spaces in the north parking lot. Now, the school is looking to acquire additional land for the needed parking.
“Lincoln Education Center would be deconstructed at the end of this four-year period, and we are also looking at the block south of that, right north of Quince Street, for parking as well,” Laine Larson, Brainerd Public Schools Superintendent, said.
On Quince Street resides a few family units and the Ed Shaw Law Office, which Brainerd would need to buy out to acquire the land for their additional parking. Shaw does not believe there is a need for more parking.
“They’re looking to spend millions of dollars in land acquisition and building demolition for parking that by any measure they do not need,” Ed Shaw, Owner of Ed Shaw Law Office, said.
Currently, the North and South parking lots are full every school day, but the lots near the football field are not at full capacity.
“There are some safety issues with that lot,” Larson said. “As far as having to climb the steps to get up to the school.”
“It’s probably cheaper to fix a staircase than to go through this process and bulldoze buildings and create more parking,” Shaw said.
At a public meeting held last month, the option of parking ramps was also brought to the school board.
“There was a concern that the front of the building was going to be a parking lot,” Larson said. “People were concerned that they didn’t want a ramp that would cover the looks of the front of the facility.”
Shaw claims the school did a poor job of contacting him on this issue, and does not want to see his property turned into a parking lot.
“If the district came to me and said, “Hey, we are going to build a new educational facility, we are going to expand the high school, we need to put a gymnasium over there…” I wouldn’t be here,” Shaw said. “I would sit down with them, negotiate a fair price, and support the process and move on.”
While the school understands some community members do not want to move, it is being courteous in working with everyone who may be affected.
“We want to assure any constituents that would be affected with the land acquisition that this is going to be a very respectful process,” Larson said. “We want to ensure that we are going to take good care of our public.”
The district is also looking to acquire land near three of their elementary schools for parking as well.
The vote on the land acquisition was originally scheduled for Monday, October 29th, but it has now been postponed until further notice. For more information on the Brainerd Public School’s expansion, visit https://blueprint181.org/.