Herald and Journal, July 12, 1999

School facilities task force sets plan

By Linda Schroeder

Linda Schroeder, Schroeder Communications and Program Management Services, has been hired by the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District Long Range Facilities Task Force to provide research data and communications between the task force and residents.

"What's taking so long? You've been at it for more than a year."

"Why are you in such a hurry? Let's slow down and be sure we make the right decision."

Members of the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Long-Range Facilities Task Force face these differing viewpoints on a regular basis. For some, they're moving too slowly; for others, they're moving too fast.

So what is happening? What has the Long-Range Facilities Task Force accomplished to date, and where is it going from here?

Two task force meetings on June 16 and June 24 focused on the process to date, as well as appropriate next steps in moving toward recommending a location for the proposed new high school.

Before moving forward to recommend a site location, members of the task force agreed that they need to provide additional information to district residents and then invite formal input from district residents.

"We want to be sure that all of our district residents have a shared understanding of our future growth projections, our facility needs, and the pros and cons of each of the high school sites under consideration," explained Joe Campbell, co-chair of the task force.

"Once we've provided everyone with adequate information, we'll seek formal input from as many district residents as possible," said Campbell.

According to the task force, that formal input will likely be in the form of a short written survey to be sent to all district residents.

The task force plans to provide a review of the facilities planning process to date, during July and August.

"We started the process 18 months ago," said Jack Littfin, task force co-chair, "and we'd like to summarize what's been accomplished so far."

The task force will provide information to the two newspapers in the district, and district residents will also receive a flyer outlining what's been done and what will be happening over the next several months.

In September, district residents will receive detailed information about facility needs, the rationale for a new high school, and the sites under consideration. With that information in hand, residents will be invited to complete and return a short survey to the task force.

"We want to be sure that we come to the board with the most appropriate site recommendation," explained Campbell.

"If we can provide everyone with a summary of the information we've gathered over the past 18 months, we can invite public response based on that shared understanding of this important decision," he said.

According to Littfin, "Our goal is to provide residents of the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted District with the information they need to feel informed enough to share their responses with us.

"It's time for us to communicate, and then it'll be time for us to listen," he said.

Task force members encourage district residents to look for a flyer in the mail by the end of July, as well as additional information in district newspapers.

Linda Schroeder, Schroeder Communications and Program Management Services, has been hired by the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District Long Range Facilities Task Force to provide research data and communications between the task force and residents.


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