Herald and Journal, Dec. 25, 2000

HLWW school board discusses LP study, high school site

By Lynda Jensen

The location of the future high school and a letter from Lester Prairie school district were two subjects that highlighted the regular meeting of the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School Board last Monday.

Money for Lester Prairie study

First, board members discussed a letter from the Lester Priarie School Board asking for financial backing of an extensive management study of cooperation among the surrounding school districts.

This was previously discussed last fall, when Lester Prairie and HLWW board members met to talk about future cooperative ventures.

Lester Prairie is asking four to six school districts to help fund the $25,000 study. It could lead to funding from the state legislature for Lester Prairie.

James Raymond spoke in favor of approving the $4,000 to $6,000 to fund the study, but expressed apprehension as well. "I am leery of their past record," he said.

Vice Chair Board Member Randy Heuer said he spoke with a number of members from the Lester Prairie board and that he himself has gone full circle since, he said.

Heuer expressed concern with Lester Prairie school's lack of direction, he said.

Heuer is equally hesitant to see the state step in, since he sees Lester Prairie's problem as a local school board management problem, he said. "It isn't the state legislature's problem (either)," he said.

He did not want to spend money without seeing more of a plan first, Heuer said.

"I think it would be foolish to do it (approve the money)," Heuer added.

Board member Jim Fowler agreed with Heuer about the lack of organization in the Lester Prairie school, but disagreed about looking for proof of immediate benefits, first.

Board member Leo Weber commented that the HLWW district didn't ask for assistance when it was in financial straits, not too long ago. "We didn't ask for help. We worked together," he said.

The decision was tabled until next month's meeting.

New high school site

During the course of the meeting, board members also discussed the site of a potential new high school.

Superintendent Riley Hoheisel indicated that he spoke at length with city administrators from both Winsted and Howard Lake about the two properties being considered.

The board is looking at the Ray Fiecke property, located 1/4 mile north of Winsted city limits, and the Edna Frank property, which is on the Howard Lake city limits, near the cemetery.

There are signed letters of intent with both properties and Victor Township has approved both sites, should the board decide to choose either one, Hoheisel said.

The letters of intent will allow the school district to order soil borings and gauge elevations, so that an architect can estimate the costs associated with them, Hoheisel said.

There are 101 acres on the Frank property, at a cost of $10,000 per acre.

The Fiecke property contains 70 acres on the west side with an additional 80 acres of land on the east side.

If the board decides to purchase both sections of the Fiecke property, the land will cost $4,500 per acre.

If the school board decides to purchase only the west section of land, it will cost $5,000 per acre.

The district can address such issues as cost and road access, Hoheisel said, as well as a power line issue, which runs through the Frank property.

The school board approved a motion to accept the letters of intent for both properties.

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