Herald and Journal, Feb. 14, 2000

Task force recommends HLWW school site on Cty. Rds. 6 & 30

By Andrea Vargo

The Gordon Dalbec property on the south side of Wright County Rd. 30 and just east of Wright County Rd. 6 is the final site recommendation for a new district high school.

The Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (HLWW) School District Site Task Force Co-chair, Joe Campbell told the school board last Monday, that it was a smaller but more difficult task (than locating the group of sites the task force used as a base), to pick out a final site.

The Dalbec property was chosen because it had good topography and met the most criteria set up by the task force, he said.

It will cost more for utilities, if the school is placed that far from a city, but Campbell said the task force feels the site will get widespread approval by voters.

He told the school board members that results of the recent district survey showed the residents are highly supportive of a new school and seem to have a sense of fairness about where it should be placed.

Architect Bob Abendroth said that he has never seen a task force work so hard.

The whole job has been completed in two years, and that is amazing, he said.

As Abendroth proceeded with his presentation of the site, he noted that the topography and soils form a classic building site from an architectural standpoint.

The watershed is great and runs to the west where it drains into a natural wetland, he said.

That wetland is a plus for the school, as it can be utilized for science projects and adds to the setting of the building, said Abendroth.

Utilities

Building waste can be handled in different ways, said Abendroth.

City sewer with a force main is the preferred and least costly option, he said.

Abendroth explained that a sewer force main consists of a small diameter polyethylene pipe that is trenched in the ground from the building back to city sewer connections.

The force main system has on-site septic tanks, storage tanks, pumps (effluent or grinder, force main, and electronic monitoring).

Cost for this system varies greatly, based on distances, right-of-way, and easements.

The issues of right-of-way and easement also need to be addressed, he stated.

The force main pumps only liquids, and the solids must be pumped on a regular basis, said Abendroth.

Another system could be on-site treatment, but this is not recommended, due to the amount of acreage needed for a drain field.

A drain field would take up 12 acres and cannot be used for any activities.

Swimming pools or garbage disposals may not use this system. It requires monitoring, and if not functioning properly, can cause the closing of the building, according to regulations.

The new school could have either a well or city water, said Abendroth.

A well is more expensive, has its own set of problems, and is not really recommended, he said.

City water from either Howard Lake or Winsted will cost about $25 per foot, plus a softener and pumps as required, according to Abendroth.

Questions

One question that arose concerned the Victor Township supervisors and Wright County Planning and Zoning Commission.

Are both groups in favor of the new school site?

Once they have the full story, they should be in favor of the project, said School Board Member Jim Raymond.

Campbell said Victor Township supervisors knew the site would be in their township, regardless of which site was chosen, and he felt they were agreeable to it the last time he attended a meeting.

Dalbec asked the board if it would override the township board if it opposed the site.

He wasn't given a definite answer.

HLWW Superintendent Riley Hoheisel said that once the situation is explained to them, he felt they would understand.

Dalbec also asked if there is room for expansion on the site.

Abendroth said the 80-acre site does allow for expansion..

Hoheisel added that the Minnesota State Department of Children, Families and Learning recommends a minimum of 40 acres for a high school.

As a final note, Hoheisel told the school board that although task force members had strong personal views on many issues, they were willing to compromise for the good of the school district.

The next step is to approach the Victor Township supervisors and try to work with them on the zoning issues, he said.


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