‘A win for students, staff and parents’
It’s been a long time coming, but the Zumbro Education District’s (ZED) new facility is finally on the home stretch.
ZED Executive Director Patrick Gordon said the district is currently finalizing the new facilities’ construction timeline and gathering contractor bids.
“We’re working on finances in April so funds are available in May,” he said.
He said he anticipates construction will start early this summer.
“We are on track to open in Fall 2022,” he said.
One of the major benefits of the new facility, Gordon said, is it allows ZED to have all its resources under one roof rather than separating everyone into three different schools.
“Having all staff under one roof enables ZED to be better prepared for teacher shortages, staff absences and we also can have better collaboration amongst staff because we’re physically occupying the same space and seeing each other every day. That collaboration amongst staff helps to offer better programming for our students,” he said.
In addition to providing better programming for students and thus benefitting the parents by giving their children a better education, Gordon said having a central hub where everything is in one spot also fiscally benefits member districts because they will no longer have to bus students to multiple sites.
“Some districts will deploy one vehicle for ZED South and another vehicle for the Area Learning Center so they can streamline their route by just busing students to just one location,” he said. “It’s a win for students, staff and parents.”
Gordon also said the new facility will also give ZED enough space to house its Transition 2 Success program and its Area Learning Center after its lease with Byron Public Schools is up on June 30, 2022.
ZED currently occupies 50% of Byron Public Schools’ District Administration and Community Services building.
“Byron’s leadership said they would need that space back because they are growing very rapidly in their enrollment. Like with any lease, when it ends, we’d have to find a place where those students and staff could go,” he said. “Leasing and renting would be a Band-Aid solution, which is not always the most effective learning environment for our ZED students.”
Gordon said that leasing or renting isn’t the most effective learning environment because you’re just given the space that’s available and you have to make it work.
“[On the other hand,] owning our own space enables ZED to customize the learning environment for the specific needs of our students,” he said. “Also, we can change and adapt that space, whereas we couldn’t do that at Byron without landlord approval.”
Gordon also said ZED’s current main office is already for sale, while the ZED South campus will be for sale sometime next year.
“ZED is very grateful for the support from our member districts, our families and staff to make this new building happen,” he said.