By Sue Webber

Contributing Writer

A site plan for an addition to and renovation of athletic building at Rogers High School was approved Sept. 22 by the Rogers City Council.

Independent School District 728 (Elk River, Otsego, Rogers and Zimmerman) is planning to add 34,600 square feet of new construction at the school’s principal building at 21000 141st Ave. N., and remodel approximately 14,970 square feet of the existing building, according to Max Pattsner, Rogers associate planner.

School district officials say the addition will provide a new athletics entry, lobby, performance gym, locker rooms, associated support spaces, and a new weight and fitness room at the high school. The renovation will remodel existing locker rooms and transform the existing weight room into a dance and yoga studio.

Expansion is expected to occur in three phases, Pattsner said. Phase I, beginning in October, will consist of the main gym/storm shelter addition to the north of the existing building. Phase II will consist of the addition of a weight and fitness room and an extension of the existing lobby on the north and west sides of the existing building. Phase III, slated to begin in August 2021, will consist of the renovation of the existing locker rooms and weight room, and conversion of the weight room into a dance and yoga studio.

Councilor Darren Jakel questioned whether community space would be included, as had been discussed earlier.

“I supported that,” Councilor Mark Eiden said. “There was to be community access. It may be time to put that back.”

However, Mayor Rick Ihli told the council that it constituted a $5 million proposal. “It was large,” he said.

City Administrator Steve Stahmer said discussions are continuing between city staff and school officials concerning possible further additions.

In other action, the council:

• Approved the hiring of Martin Clements and Matthew Kro as paid on-call firefighters. Both Clements and Kro will respond to fire and EMS calls at Station 2.

Fire Chief Brad Feist said the Fire Department is approved for 41 active members. The two new hires will bring the membership to 38 firefighters, he said.

“Rogers Fire Department continues to struggle with recruitment and retaining firefighters due to job commitments, career changes, family events and other personal activities,” Feist said in a memo to the city council. “Rogers Fire has seen a large decrease in daytime responders and an increase in turnover with our membership.”

The council also awarded an $823,924 contract to MacQueen Equipment, Inc. to manufacture a 2021 Pierce top-mount pumper for the Rogers Fire Department.

Feist noted that the current 1996 engine has been in service for 25 years and requires frequent repairs that take it out of service. The city is required to maintain three engines to ensure its current insurance rating, Feist’s memo said.

• Authorized an amendment to the developer’s agreement for the Birchwood development for sanitary sewer work not to exceed $99,600. The development is a project by D.R. Horton on Brockton Lane.

The work was completed in September, according to City Engineer Bret Weiss. “We got two bids; the other bid was significantly higher,” Weiss said.

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