On May 12, voters in the Roseau School District passed by a three-to-one margin – 1,044 yes votes to 359 no votes – to approve a building bond request to build an addition onto Roseau High School and improve security at Roseau Elementary School. Voters also approved a building bond request by 1,040 yes votes to 359 no votes to create a safe elementary pickup-drop-off area and a multipurpose space.
Roseau Community School has an enrollment of 1,175 students in grades K-12
The Minnesota Regular Residential Property Tax Refund and the Ag2School tax credit will help defray the tax burden on home and land owners. A homeowner with a household income of $115,200, for example, is eligible for a property tax refund of up to $2,820, while a renter with a household income of up to $62,340 is eligible for a property tax refund of up to $2,190.
The 2019 Minnesota Legislature, meanwhile, increased funding of the Ag2School tax credit from 40% to 70% during the next three years.
Construction on the Roseau Community School remodeling project is expected to be finished in the fall of 2022.
The project will be made up of about 65,000 square feet of new construction and a 44,000 square feet remodel. The remodeling includes new classrooms, Career and Technical Education space and a music suite for band and choir. Administrative and common spaces, expansion of the gym and structural repairs also are included in the project.
Some parts of the school were built in 1930, and, over the years, the building has been remodeled several times. The last time the school passed a referendum for a building improvement project was in the late 1980s, said Tom Jerome, Roseau School District superintendent.
“We’re not building for the sake of building. Parts of this building are 90 years old and needed repair,” he said.
A video of the aging school building shows wear and tear and damage, including peeling and blistered paint, water in the tunnels below the teacher’s lounge and a 60-year-old boiler. Meanwhile, three old classrooms are being used as storage areas, and the space in the small engines vocational education room is inadequate, the video shows.
Most of the improvements made during the 1980s project were at the elementary school. The 1980s project also included a “light” remodel of the high school science department.
The project launched this summer will involve a major remodeling of the science department.
The addition will tie the separate band and choir rooms into a music suite and includes new music practice rooms and storage space, said Chris Barnes, who teaches band to students in grades seven through 12. The renovation also will make the music space handicap accessible.
For Barnes and the music students, the changes will be a welcomed improvement.
“Music is really important in Roseau,” Barnes said, noting that there are 160 students in the band in grades seven through 12.
A committee made up of community members and school representatives began meeting two years ago to talk about what the improvement project should look like, Jerome said.
The improvements that are slated will impact students in coming generations, he said.
Construction on the new addition and the other improvements will be conducted in stages to minimize disruption to students’ learning.
“I’m so proud of the Roseau School District and their commitment to education,”’ Jerome said. “I’m grateful for all of the time and energy that people put forth for one single reason — that was to improve the educational opportunities available for students in our communities,” he said. “This was a grassroots movement project, and I really think that showed up on May 12.”
That commitment to support the project was made not only by parents and grandparents who have children and grandchildren attending Roseau Community School, but also voters who don’t have any family members enrolled there, Jerome said.
He believes the benefits of the remodeling project will ripple through generations of students.
“We will not realize the impact of this for years to come,” he said.