n a special meeting of the Merrill Area Public Schools (MAPS) Board of Education (BOE) Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023, the Board voted unanimously to contract with an outside firm to conduct a facility study of all MAPS facilities, in part to help decide the fate of the former Jefferson Elementary School building. The last such study was conducted in 2010 according to the Minutes of the BOE’s Dec. 14, 2022, HR/Finance Committee meeting. While internal assessments have been conducted since, an external facilities study would be done with an “unbiased eye” and consider all of the current MAPS buildings and facilities, including parking availability and needs, building improvements/maintenance needed at each facility, and the fact that the Merrill Adult Diploma Academy (MADA) currently rents space in Merrill’s City Hall, among other factors. The former Kids Kingdom building, central office building, Pine River School for Young Learners, and all currently owned MAPS buildings would be evaluated in reference to current and future MAPS needs, in addition to the Jefferson School building.
Three firms were invited to submit bids; however, one firm declined due to workload and availability, MAPS Superintendent Shannon Murray said. The two remaining firms, Miron and Findorff, both created proposals and did presentations, he said.
“There was a scoring rubric created that everyone completed and the scores were tallied,” Murray said. As a result, the team of Bray Architects and Miron Construction was selected, and the BOE unanimously voted to contract with them “to conduct a facility study to look at all of our facilities and how to make best use of all of them in the most efficient and effective manner.”