Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Jan. 22, 2001

Plans outlined for Holy Trinity school expansion

Expansion plans for Holy Trinity Schools in Winsted were outlined by Fr. Paul Wolf at the Winsted Civic and Commerce Association's meeting Thursday.

The proposed project includes adding a second gymnasium and constructing a new elementary school.

There would also be improvements to the existing schools' heating system and addressing handicapped accessibility issues.

A rough cost estimate is $7 million, Wolf said.

A fundraising campaign will take place most of this year. The hope is to break ground in March 2002, but that is a goal, not a firm commitment, he said.

The building project itself would be paid for by contributions and pledges. There will be tuition increases due to operating costs, but not for the construction, he explained.

Also, the Diocese requires the parish to have at least half of the needed funds in the bank before construction begins, Wolf said.

The proposal includes removing both the convent building and the existing elementary school, however, the elementary school would remain until new construction is completed.

The convent would be removed at the beginning of the project. A study of the convent's structure showed that remodeling of some type would not be a cost-effective option, he said.

The second gymnasium would be built directly west of the current gymnasium, and it would be surrounded by the elementary classrooms.

It would be primarily an elementary gym, with the present gym remaining mostly for the high school.

The two gyms would allow for better scheduling between boys' and girls' teams. The single gym is often used now until 10 or 11 p.m., he said.

There would be an office area to separate the high school and elementary areas, and a new library/media center would be created that could be accessed by either side.

The design also allows for further expansion of additional classrooms, including a second story.

The construction would add six rooms available to the high school, and four more classrooms than the elementary school has now.

In all, the facility could handle up to 50 students per grade.

Winsted is only a couple miles from what is considered the metropolitan area, and continued population growth is expected, Wolf noted.

Air conditioning is not planned in the addition, but the design would make it possible to easily add that feature in the future, he noted.

Outside, parking areas will also be dealt with. One option is using land that Holy Trinity owns across 2nd Street North, to the west, Wolf said. Space near the rectory could also be considered.

Even if construction doesn't go ahead, the school will have to address some issues such as the heating system, he noted.

The oldest section of the high school was built in 1929, the newer part in 1965. The elementary school building is about 100 years old.

A couple years ago, Holy Trinity had been discussing a type of joint facility with the City of Winsted, but that idea was dropped due to legal concerns, he noted.

As for the possibility of a new Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted public high school being built in Winsted, Wolf said: "I would welcome it. We could share an ag program, sports, a swimming pool - there are so many possibilities we could share that we can't afford to do all of them alone."


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