Facilities Updates

Safety First!

Rochester School District has been exploring the feasibility of making significant facility improvements to RHS, RMS, GMES, and RPS. We’ve received a wide variety of input from many community representatives, and have a better understanding of your concerns.
Your top priorities: 1. Modernize and expand Rochester High School, and 2. Improve the safety and security of students at ALL schools.

Our process continues. We are working with members of our architectural design team to prioritize our needs, while evaluating costs against a realistic budget. We’re continuing to brainstorm ways to achieve our highest priorities while getting the most efficient results out of this potential project.

Timing is everything:
Our goal is to complete the process this fall and present our recommendations to the School Board. If approved, a bond measure could be run in 2020. Since RSD’s existing bond will be paid off in 2020 and levy rates have been reduced, passing a new bond would create little to no change to the combined levy and bond tax rates of 2016.

Rochester High School:
Why Modernize?  Why now?

Rochester High School is now 30 years old, and the building and grounds are showing their age: mechanical, electrical and communication systems are outdated and unreliable. The building is also overcrowded. RHS was originally built for 450 students, it currently serves 662. To accommodate extra students, half of the classrooms are outside of the main building, in portables. This creates a number of safety and functionality issues as students pass between classes. Throughout the day, students dodge vehicle traffic as they walk through parking areas to reach portable classrooms. When people are located in numerous buildings, accounting for whereabouts is made difficult. Long travel and wait times for using the limited number of restrooms cause loss of valuable classroom time.
RHS Aerial Concerpt Drawing
Proposed work scope includes:

Building Addition.Classes held in portables will be relocated inside the building to increase safety, comfort and collaboration for all.

Enhanced Safety and Security.Having students together in one building will facilitate rapid communication and response in emergency situations. Enhancements will include auto locking doors, increased visibility and a security vestibule.

Improved Traffic Flow.Improved parking and a potential separation of bus circulation from other vehicles will improve pedestrian safety and ease congestion throughout the school day and during events.

Trades/Arts/Athletics Improvements.New and expanded space to better accommodate career and technical education (skilled trades), athletic activities, performance events and more.

Interior Modernization and Exterior Upgrades.Planned upgrades to the existing building will improve functionality, increase natural daylight and refresh the school’s appearance. Spot repairs and a full repaint of the exterior will increase weather-tightness and blend the existing building with new construction.

Rochester Primary, Grand Mound, Rochester Middle Schools:
How can we keep students safe?

RPS, GMES and RMS are in good condition and serving us well. Yet, best practices for safety and security have changed since the schools were built and improved. Existing building access must be assessed and reconfigured for better control of how guests enter our doors. The current pick-up and drop-off procedures at GMES and RPS create pedestrian safety hazards and traffic congestion. Modifications to parking lots can help improve student safety and traffic flow.
Typical Security Vestibule Diagram without border

Proposed work scope includes:

• Enhance Safety and Security.  Increased visibility, communication and building access control will help protect building occupants in an emergency situation.

• Secure Entries.  A security vestibule will be added to each school’s main entry. These measures will improve coordination efforts and response time in the face of threats, both human-made and natural.

• Improve Traffic Flow.  Parking lot improvements at RPS and GMES will facilitate safe and efficient vehicle circulation, especially during pick-up and drop-off.


RSD Facilities Planning Icon

We want to hear from you!

Voting Jar Graphic
Look for the voting jars throughout our community.

Cast your vote to tell us what you believe are the highest priorities from improvement at RHS, and talk to us about what is being planned. We are excited to share how your feedback is informing the process!

Optimum Investment Diagram

RSD Why Now Graphic
Because if its age, RHS is eligible for State Construction Assistance Program (SCAP) funding. The cost of making improvements is reduced for taxpayers when the State matches a large portion of construction dollars.