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Pine City School District receives prices for renovation projects, and more news

The Pine City School District shared the potential cost of the elementary school renovation project during a meeting on Monday night.

According to Troy Miller, an architect with LHB, the presentation followed a handful of revisions from the community and the school board.

“It’s been a few months of working through this process and hundreds of ideas just thrown at the wall,” Superintendent Dr. Cindy Stolp said. “I think we’ve really come up with a really nice plan for the elementary that addresses the sinking wing.”

As it stands, renovating and adding to the elementary school will cost around $32 million. The project would include the demolition of the 1962 wing and the repositioning of the pickup and drop-off areas for students.

In an interview, Troy Miller says the renovation plans for the high school are still being worked out. The costs are estimated to be between $10 and $34 million.

Miller says the elementary school is the priority.

Stolp says that once the plan is finalized, they will hit the ground running.

“[We’ll] go into groups or I’d love to have coffee with people, or bring people on tours just to show people what’s going on. One-to-one conversations are always better than interpreting what’s on the website or what your neighbor said.”

Originally, the Pine City School District planned to approve the project to go out for a referendum this year; however, the timeline to submit plans to the State of Minnesota was moved up.

The tentative plan is for the board to approve a finalized project later this year and hold a referendum in November of 2024.

The school district is expected to send out a community survey within the next few weeks to glean further input on what priorities they have.

Allina Health puts new Cambridge Medical Center project on hold

Allina Health has put the new Cambridge Medical Center project on hold.

According to a statement released Monday, Allina cited significant financial challenges as the reason for pausing moving forward on the facility.

In a February interview, Cambridge Medical Center president Josh Shepherd said the original estimated cost of $150 million was no longer realistic due to inflation.

At the time, Shepherd estimated groundbreaking on the project would be delayed until spring of 2024.

The project was initially announced in 2022. City administrator Evan Vogel said Cambridge is hopeful the project still happens.

"This delay may temper some of the excitement surrounding the concept of a brand-new hospital and clinic, but the public will still have every ability to access quality healthcare right here in Cambridge at the current campus," Vogel wrote in an email.

In the statement, Allina Health said it remains committed to being the provider partner for Cambridge.

Pine City approves purchase of an ice breaker

Pine City might have solved the problem of ice build-up on city streets during the winter.

The city council approved the purchase of an icebreaker from Canadian company Team Eagle during its meeting on July 5.

The ice break is a rolling drum with spikes on it that is meant to break up ice and snow build up.

During the meeting, Mayor Carl Pederson said it should be the ticket to help solve issues the city has clearing some of the more troublesome streets.

The piece of equipment will cost over $39,000, which will be paid for using ARPA funds.

Braham’s preliminary 2024 budget has 17% levy increase

The city of Braham’s preliminary 2024 budget includes a total levy increase of 17 percent.

City administrator Rachel Kytonen shared a first draft of the budget with the Braham city council ahead of a special meeting on Tuesday.

Notable budget items include an estimated $18,000 for IT services, $5,000 for fireworks in the general fund, and a boost to the elections fund due to three elections set for 2024.

In total, the preliminary levy is up from $1.4 million in 2023 to $1.6 million in 2024.

Braham will need to adopt its preliminary budget by Sept. 26 before the budget and levy are certified at the December city council meeting.

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