'Nevis Forward' is exploring the school district's needs – Park Rapids Enterprise

“Nevis Forward” is the name the Nevis School District chose for their project exploring the needs of future students and possible changes to equip their aging campus to meet them.

“Nevis Forward” is the name the Nevis School District chose for their project exploring the needs of future students and possible changes to equip their aging campus to meet them.

More than 25 people gathered at Nevis School on Wednesday evening, April 17 to hear a presentation about the school’s facility needs based on the feedback ICS gathered from a variety of focus groups that included community members, teachers, students, board members and administrators.

“These are the first steps towards creating the school of the future,” Superintendent Gregg Parks said. “We are starting here at the grassroots. You’re on the cutting edge of what potentially happens in the future to keep Nevis School viable and competitive and creating the best learning environment for our kids.”

He pointed out that the school’s original gym that was built in 1957 is almost 70 years old and the newer parts of the campus, built in 1987, are almost 40 years old.

ICS presented a summary of the results of the listening sessions held in February.

Facility needs and concerns

Top facility needs in the school identified by various groups and the ICS educational adequacy report included a larger cafeteria, a designated commons area, more bathrooms and updating bathrooms for handicap accessibility, having 1:1 areas for the 205 of students in the district who receive special education services and space for mental health services and a calming area that can be easily accessed. A larger nurses office was also identified.

Two safety concerns noted were the need for a separate area for bus dropoff and pickup, and upgrading security so someone who is buzzed into the school goes directly into an office where they sign in before gaining access to the rest of the school.

More classroom and storage space was also a priority, especially in the high school.

Having wider hallways in the high school was on the list, along with a performing arts area and more space for career and technical education.

More gym space was mentioned, along with better athletic facilities and updating the playground.

“After the listening sessions, we now have all the puzzle pieces and the next step will be looking at solutions to improve educational spaces for the students and staff,” Glen Chiodo of ICS said.

ICS business development director Jason Splett said one of the biggest needs is flexible spaces to accommodate changes in education over time.

While births in Hubbard County are trending downward, overall growth in the county is up. For example, the Nevis district saw 19.7% growth from 2000 to 2020. That included a 24% increase in students who live in the district

At the present time, the ICS report said there is a lack of new, affordable housing, with families mainly moving in when an existing home is sold.

Nevis resident Karrin Lindow said there is room for more housing to be built in the district to encourage more families to move to the area.

Enrollment projections show that total enrollment looks to remain stable, since open enrollment students are waiting to fill in any spaces that become available.

“We are a school of choice for a lot of people,” Parks said. “Every year, we turn away people. We want to continue to excel and be competitive. Every week, people call asking how to get students in. Money is allotted per pupil. We benefit tremendously from open enrollment.”

“Without open enrollment some schools go under,” Splett said. “You’re a winner in open enrollment, bringing in more kids than are coming out.”

When asked if the district wants a bigger school to bring in more open enrollment students, Parks said when Nevis became a two-section school, caps were set on class sizes to maintain the best learning environment.

“We know every student who walks in the door,” he said.

Parks said, after the meeting, that the next step is to look at possible solutions to meet some of the issues identified.

“We will need to prioritize the list and start to assign some kind of pricing so people understand what it could potentially cost,” he said. “The school board will have some decisions to make at that time to decide what direction we want to go. That could be building with visions for the future or taking an incremental approach. I’m excited about the possibilities. One of my granddaughters is in our early childhood program. We’re setting the stage for her entire school career. We will continue to keep everybody informed as we go through each step of the process.”

Parks said Nevis is a school the community can be proud of.

“We have been very good stewards of the taxpayer’s dollars up to this point, and moving forward any projects will definitely have the bottom line in mind to make sure we continue with that,” he said.

The full ICS facility educational space adequacy report and enrollment projection report are available with this article at or at Nevis School website under the “Community Listening Session Results” section.

For questions about Nevis Forward, call Parks at 218-652-3500, email him at gparks@nevis308.org or talk to any school board member.


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