Tower Investments offers land for new Pine Island Elementary School
By Alice Duschanek-Myers
PINE ISLAND – On December 6, Pine Island School Board chairman Jeff Leland announced that Tower Investments, LLC will donate 38 acres of land to the school to build a new PreK-4 school. The land donation is contingent on the residents of the district passing the referendum to construct the building.
Leland read a letter confirming the donation that was written to Superintendent Tammy Berg-Beniak by Tower’s Senior Vice President John W. Pierce. The letter read, “Tower Investments is proud to be part of the growth of the City of Pine Island. We believe excellent public education is a critical component of a city’s growth. Pine Island Public Schools have provided the excellence in public education in the past but we have seen that they are in need of additional facilities to continue this level of high quality education.
“High quality public education contributes to a community’s growth in many ways. Property values are higher in communities with quality education because our children’s education is one of our most important considerations when we decide where we want to live. A growing and productive workforce is dependent upon good education starting in elementary school and continuing through college. Business grows and locates in areas with a quality workforce. Studies have shown that communities with successful public education have lower crime and higher quality of life. Pine Island Public Schools has provided a quality education for K through 12 and we are pleased to help Pine Island continue to provide this critical public service.”
Leland said that based on community meetings and surveys, residents recommended either building on the edge of town close enough to keep operation costs down or build a school on 125th Street, which will be a four-lane paved road connecting Olmsted County Road 5 with Highway 52 in the future.
The school site evaluation team looked at a number of sites south and north of the city. They considered public input, usable acres, present condition of land, ease of acquisition, cost of site development, cost of utilities/need for lift station, and location of district boundaries.
The 38-acre site (with two acres of right-of-way) selected by Tower and the district is on 125th Street where it intersects the Douglas Trail. It is flat, which will save on improving the site. It is near enough to hook up to city utilities and would not require a lift station, which will save $264,000. Tower will donate the land in the current condition. The school will be responsible to prepare the site and extend the utilities. It is in Olmsted County located in the middle of the Pine Island School District.