BLOOMING PRAIRIE — Spectators who attend Blooming Prairie home sporting events this year will be greeted by two new scoreboards in the gym and one for the softball field.
The new scoreboards “are wireless, which will be nicer for us,” and these scoreboards haven’t been replaced in recent memory, so it’s certainly fair to say “we’ve gotten our time with them,” said Ali Mach, associative principal and director of activities. The softball field scoreboard, for example, hasn’t been updated in at least 17 years.
Blooming Prairie is also remodeling the weight room this summer, “a pretty big project,” Mach said. In fact, the district will almost certainly put out a call for volunteers to assist with the weight room, much as volunteers helped install new playground equipment at the elementary building earlier this summer.
In addition, the outfield fences for the baseball and softball fields are being renovated, Mach said during Monday’s Blooming Prairie school board meeting. “That will be a nice fix,” because “those are in pretty bad shape.”
The district did budget for the new gym scoreboards, as well as the outfield fences, in its Long-Term Facilities Maintenance plan, she said. The two scoreboards cost roughly $15,000 total.
Coincidentally enough, the board approved the district’s Long-Term Facilities Maintenance plan for the next decade during Monday’s meeting.
Minnesota school districts applying for long-term facilities maintenance revenue must annually complete the application for Long-Term Facilities Maintenance Revenue and submit it to the Minnesota Department of Education. To qualify for Long-Term Maintenance Revenue, school districts must have a 10-year plan adopted by the school board and approved by the commissioner of education.
It’s important to remember the maintenance revenue plan is “not set in stone” beyond a year or two, said Chris Staloch, Blooming Prairie’s superintendent. “We try to keep it consistent with spending,” but districts can roll money over year-to-year, so Blooming Prairie is being particularly conservative in the next couple of years, because “we have some big projects in the next three-seven years,” including roof work at the elementary building.
In other developments from Monday’s meeting, Blooming Prairie’s school board voted to keep meeting the third Monday of each month for the next fiscal year, with rare exceptions due to holidays. Meetings will be at 7:15 p.m., with open forum at 7 p.m.
In addition, the public meeting to discuss the budget and levy will be held during the regular school board meeting Dec. 16. The school board has conducted that public information session during the regular December meeting for several years and saw no reason to change.
Furthermore, the district “put new WiFi hubs in both buildings” to boost internet speeds for students, staff, and visitors, Staloch said. “Speed is much, much better.”
Additionally, the district is inviting members of the community, especially families with young children, to “Meet the Blossoms” August 20, Mach said. At that event, which includes free food, attendees can interact with athletes for Blooming Prairie’s fall sports.
Finally, those who attend sporting events for the Gopher Conference, of which Blooming Prairie is a member, will pay another dollar for the privilege this year, as the conference increased prices from $6 to $7 for adults and $4 to $5 for students. Blooming Prairie did vote Monday to keep admission free for those ages 65 and older, however.