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What’s at stake for Jordan’s School Referendum

As Jordan Elementary School Principal Melissa Barnett welcomed the class of 2036 to kindergarten orientation, signs labeled different parts of the school that the district is seeking to renovate if its bond referendum passes.

The elementary school was built in 1976 and last received major renovations when a new wing was built in 2002. As Jordan has grown, the school has tried its best to keep up with the growth, but the school is at a point where drastic changes need to occur.

One of the biggest challenges is the undersized lunchroom. Because of the lack of space, lunch spills over into the auxiliary gym and lasts for three hours, causing scheduling headaches for staff.

Then there’s the classroom design in many parts of the school. The older classrooms in the building often require students and teachers to walk through one classroom to get to another. This causes many disruptions and distractions to the learning environment, as well as safety concerns. Additionally, classrooms are undersized and are not easily adapted to modern learning needs. On top of that are the necessary HVAC changes and upgrades that have been deferred for many years because of the cost.

In addition to space and design constraints, plumbing throughout the school needs to be updated, especially the bathrooms. The elementary school side of the building only has three bathrooms for approximately 775 students, not including the issues and occasional plumbing breakdowns that cause one or more of those bathrooms to be closed at any given time. The adjoining Early Learning Services side of the building does have an additional restroom and two single-stall bathrooms.

Superintendent Ranae Case Evenson said that surveys and community comments are on the same page as the district regarding the basic needs of the school.

“After the survey we did, there were two common themes,” Case Evenson said. “What is your plan for the elementary school — because those needs haven’t gone away — and what is your plan for safe and secure entrances at the high school and elementary school?”

Through those surveys that the school district conducted, school leaders concluded that the $34.99 million that they’re asking for was reasonable. While that number will not cover everything that needs to be addressed, it will help alleviate many of the pressing issues and concerns.

Most of that potential bonding money will go to renovations and expansion of the elementary school. Facilities improvements and a better parking lot design will help the school keep up with Jordan’s projected growth and also keep the school district on one campus as long as possible.

The high school would also get an updated secure entrance. The current secure entrance requires visitors to walk through school common spaces to get to the main office to check in and the district would like to have visitors be able to go directly to the office.

The referendum would cost the average homeowner in Jordan about $30 a month, and the district has a property tax calculator to calculate individual property tax changes, as well as a chart with home prices and tax impacts.

“We want people to call if they have questions, email if they have questions; we’ll be at Celebrate Jordan to answer questions about the referendum, too,” Case Evenson said.

Information about the referendum can be found on the district website under the About Us tab under Referendum 2023. The district also posts updates, information and photos on Thursdays on their social media pages. Absentee voting is currently open at the school district office at 500 Sunset Drive, Suite #1, and will continue until April 11, Election Day.

2023 Road Construction in Jordan, what you need to know

Road construction season is nearly here. This is what is happening in and around Jordan that could affect your travel plans.

CR 66/Highway 21/ Sawmill Road Roundabout

Starting at the beginning of June and for 12 weeks, the intersection of Highway 21, County Road 66 and Sawmill road on the southwest side of Jordan will be closed as the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Scott County and the city reconstruct the intersection into a roundabout.

For those 12 weeks, motorists will be detoured away from the intersection via Highways 169, 282, 13 and 19. For eight weeks of the project, Sawmill Road residents will have to take a very long, circuitous route around the intersection to get into Jordan.

When the project is completed, left turns will be safer and traffic slower. Additional grade work will be done to make the intersection less steep than it is currently. As part of this project, trail and pedestrian connections will be added along County Road 66 and to the Sand Creek Dog Park. Speed limits will be lowered to facilitate roundabout movements and new road grades.

Most of the funding for this project comes from MNDOT, federal funding and Scott County. The city’s share of the funding is $75,000.

Bluff Drive overpass at Highway 169

On the north side of town in Sand Creek Township, Scott County will be reconstructing the Bluff Drive and 166th Street intersection with Highway 169.

Work for this project started last fall, but work will continue this summer with Bluff Drive becoming an overpass over Highway 169 and a frontage road being added behind Sport Wheels and By The Yard to connect 166th Street with Bluff Drive.

Acceleration and deceleration lanes are being added to facilitate better truck traffic movement and left turns and crossings across 169 are being removed to better help traffic flow on 169.

To facilitate truck traffic for the surrounding industry, acceleration and deceleration lanes will be added to Highway 169. A new frontage road will be added to connect 166th Street with Bluff Drive between Sport Wheels and By the Yard.

Construction calendar beyond summer

There are also a few major projects that are in the pipeline for Highway 169 over the next few years that will affect Jordan.

In 2024, Highway 169 will be resurfaced between Shakopee and Jordan. During that project, road access will be changed at some intersections to eliminate left turns and crossings.

Also in 2024, an interchange at Delaware Avenue and Highway 169 is projected to begin construction. That timeline and plans are still preliminary and will be finalized at some point in the upcoming year. Current plans are for a partial cloverleaf and improved access to the Candy Store.

Highway 169/282/9 interchange project funding passed the Minnesota House with their infrastructure bill on March 6. The city council will be getting a presentation and finalized plans at their next meeting on March 13. Currently, this project is projected to happen between 2025-2026.