SAUK RAPIDS - With facility study details emerging and ongoing implementation of student technology, new Sauk Rapids-Rice school board chair Mark Hauck is ready for a crucial year.

"It's really an honor to serve with this board and district. It's really humbling to be a part of such a great team."

Hauck was elected board chair during the district reorganization meeting on Monday night. One of the biggest challenges they face this year is an ongoing facility study to address space concerns. The SRR district has seen growth of over 550 students over the last five years.

'We're getting to a capacity limit at some of our schools, not all of them, but some of our elementary schools are very full," Hauck says.

The district expects to see growth in the next 10 years in its elementary levels. A community task force is expected to make a final facility recommendation to the board in March. District staff and an arcitect firm will then develop and publicize a cost estimate for the recommendations in April.

"We're really getting full. So this is an ideal time to look at our facilities and come up with a plan."

Hauck says he's also excited continue overseeing the districts increased access through technology plan. Last school year in December, every student at the Sauk Rapids-Rice High School student was given a laptop to use for their schoolwork. The middle school and late-elementary students now also have iPads.

"We recognize that the amount of poverty in the district has grown and we're excited to provide this equal access to technology for all students and they can also take the technology home with them."

The lower elementary and pre-k students will also recieve iPads for class next year.

"The textbook and worksheet maybe has had it's place in the past. Teachers and students can now use these devices to collaborate and increase their teaching," Hauck says.