Herald and Journal, Aug. 2, 1999

HLWW facilities task force becomes site task force

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.

The Long Range Facilities Task Force-now the Site Task Force-will continue the process of researching sites and sharing information with district residents.

The Site Task Force is moving forward to gather the information needed to provide a second facilities-related recommendation to the HLWW School Board.

The school board authorized forming a facilities task force in November 1997 to study the use of present school district facilities and the building of a new school.

The 15-member group, made up of business and civic leaders, school board members, parents, teachers and administrators from throughout the district, began meeting in February 1998.

The 11-month process of studying facility needs and submitting a recommendation to the board focused on many different activities.

Some of the major tasks the group accomplished:

  • Analyzed current facilities;
  • Researched educational re-quirements for the future;
  • Studied trends and developments with the state and in neighboring districts;
  • Studied the demographer's 34-page report; and met with the demographer to review past and future population trends in the area;
  • Reviewed the 33-page architects' and engineers' report on long-range facilities planning, capacity issues and the condition of present buildings; and met with the architect to review the report;
  • Toured neighboring schools;
  • Met with staff of the Depart-ment of Children, Families and Learning;
  • Met with the district's financial consultant to review potential tax impacts of various options;
  • Reviewed all information, studied implications, and developed recommendations;
  • Secured construction cost estimates and tax impact figures for proposed recommendations;
  • Finalized the task force's recommendation, wrote a 25-page final report, and presented a facilities recommendation to the school board.

The overriding goal of the task force, according to its report to the school board, was to "deliver to the board and to the people served by our district a plan that would facilitate the continuing education excellence expected by our students, parents and the communities at large."

The task force report submitted to the board in January 1999 recommended building a 450-student high school to serve students in grades 9-12. It also outlined recommendations for how our current school facilities would be used to complement a new high school.

The school board unanimously accepted the task force's recommendation, and, at the same meeting, requested that the task force continue to work on site analysis and selection of a location for the proposed new building.

An update flyer will be sent to all district residents the first week in August, which will focus on the process to date, as well as what the next steps in the process will be.

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