The possibility of a new elementary school and public safety building is even closer to becoming a reality.
McFarland Village Board and the McFarland School District board have both agreed to a land swap between the village and district. The school board approved the proposal at the Nov. 18 meeting, and the village board approved it at their Nov. 25 meeting.
The village would receive the 5.15-acre property on Highway MN on Broadhead Street east of Holscher Road. Adjoining land to the south is developed as baseball fields with a parking lot.
The village board will use the property as the future site of a public safety facility. The new facility would house the municipal court, McFarland Police Department, and McFarland Fire and Rescue Department while maintaining a location near the downtown area.
The newly available space in the Municipal Center would allow for development of a community center.
From the village, the school district would receive 9.04 acres of land on the 3100 block of Siggelkow Road east of Highway AB for the potential development of a future school. The land was recently annexed into the village. Surrounding areas are mostly undeveloped agricultural and single-family houses.
The district’s newly acquired land allows for the site of a future elementary school to be constructed if needed based on growing enrollment rates.
The village will retain 26 acres of land next to the potential future school site for a community park.
“The site that they are parting ways with was not as conducive for a school whereas the property that we had that potentially could site a public safety was not conducive for that purpose,” Village Administrator Matt Schuenke said. “Swapping that property helps both of our entities save on the need to buy property in that sense, as well as provide for services where it makes sense and is efficient for all the residents that we serve.”
In a Nov. 8, 2019, memorandum to the school board and village board from Superintendent Andrew Briddell and Schuenke, it was noted that the swap would save “both organizations and their constituents millions of dollars in debt service costs in order to acquire property.”
The locations would better serve public needs for the purpose of each property after the swap and the school district would no longer need to fund improvements on Highway MN.
Before either facility could be constructed, both entities would need to plan, design and bid for the facilities.
Village trustees approved the distribution of a request for proposal for architectural services to begin facility planning and design at the Monday, Dec. 9, village board meeting. The proposal will be available for one month followed with another month for trustees to review proposals.