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Message to the Community - Facility Project Updates

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Dear Members of the Ely Community,

I hope this message finds you well. I am writing to provide you with an update on the ongoing facility improvement projects that have taken place at the Ely Public School District. As the superintendent overseeing the closure of the current project and starting a new project to complete the original voter-approved referendum project, I understand the importance of keeping the community informed about its progress and plans moving forward.

21st Century Facility Project Overview:

The 21st Century Facility Project began as a response to the growing needs of our aging school buildings and the desire to create a safe and secure entrance for our students. The initial planning phase involved an assessment of the existing facilities, community input, and collaboration with architects and contractors to develop a comprehensive plan for the upgrades.  The voters approved a referendum in August 2020.  Then the design phase began and continued into the spring of 2021.  The district went out for bids in the Spring of 2021 and was faced with a huge challenge with extreme increases for construction materials due to Covid-19.  Due to the increase in costs, the original construction project needed to be scaled back, and many key elements were eliminated including interior doors, window replacements, bathroom renovations, and classroom renovations.

Commencement of Construction for the 21st Century Facility Project:

The construction phase for the 21st Century Facility Project officially commenced in May 2021. The facility team worked to ensure the project stayed on schedule and met the highest standards of quality. The district faced many challenges along the way, but the commitment from our facility team to deliver an improved and modernized facility remained steadfast.   

Completion of the 21st Century Facility Project:

The Ely Public School District opened the 2022-2023 school year with the completed project.

The 21st Century Facility Project is currently near completion with final punch list items to complete. Key milestones achieved throughout this project included a safe and secure entrance for the campus, a new HVAC system for the Washington Building,  a new kitchen and cafeteria, a modern media center, a new gymnasium for additional learning spaces, new and modernized industrial tech classroom with woodshop, small engines, and welding booths, new intercom systems throughout the campus, a new band space and a new choir classroom.  The transformation of our facility is already evident, and we are excited about the positive impact it will have on the community.

Looking Ahead to our next project; Phase II-Completion Project:

While we celebrate the progress made in the 21st Century Facility Project, it’s essential to look forward to the next steps. We are now beginning another construction project to finish the original project that was voter-approved by the taxpayers.  This new project; Phase II-Completion Project is already underway.  During the spring of 2023, we worked with the Costin Group to secure additional funding through the legislature and the incredible support we have received from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board.  This next phase will focus on completing the original voter-approved project.  Phase II-Completion Project will include the completion of new windows for the entire campus, new interior classroom doors, renovation of the chemistry lab, renovation of the art classroom, renovation of all campus bathrooms, adding additional individual bathrooms in the Memorial and Washington Buildings, and new flooring and paint for classrooms.  We are committed to maintaining open communication with the community throughout this next phase of construction.  The Phase II-Completion Project is scheduled to begin in May of 2024.

Community Involvement:

The community’s support and commitment to our school is invaluable to us. We thank you for the original voter-approved referendum that propelled our district into the transformation of our historical buildings to modern learning spaces for our community’s learners.  Our goal is to create a facility that truly serves the needs and desires of our diverse learning community.

Thank you for your continued support and patience as we work to enhance our school facilities. We look forward to sharing the completed project with you and creating a space that we can all be proud of.

Best regards,

Anne Oelke

Superintendent of the Ely Public School District

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