Herald and Journal, Jan. 22, 2001

HLWW to get cities' proposals for new school site

By Lynda Jensen

The Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School Board planned its next step in the future potential high school site selection during its meeting Tuesday.

Proposals from the cities of Winsted and Howard Lake will be given Jan. 22 to a school board committee and will be discussed at the next board meeting.

The next HLWW school board meeting will be Tues., Feb. 20, at 8 p.m. in the Humphrey Elementary Gymnasium, Waverly.

A sub-committee of board members Gene Lorentz, Jim Raymond and Charles Weber, as well as Superintendent Riley Hoheisel, will meet with city administrators from Howard Lake and Winsted to discuss offers from each city for the school site.

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 101 acres on the Frank property, at the southwest corner of Howard Lake, at a cost of $10,000 per acre.

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 is still waiting for a cost estimate to move the power pole running through the Frank property, Hoheisel said.

Discussion turned to what the board will do after the cities deliver their presentations.

Raymond asked if the criteria would be strictly money.

"I don't know," Lorentz said.

"We would be taking many hours of task force work and throwing it out the window if we just look at the cost," commented board member Jim Fowler.

Board member Randy Heuer questioned the board at large about the need for any more committees, saying that the board should discontinue use of them.

"At some time, it needs to become a board decision," he said. "I don't think we can do it in a committee anymore."

Heuer named three things that he thought should be used as criteria for selection of the new site.

1) Money.

2) Ongoing operational costs, when comparing the properties as evenly as possible.

3) Long term considerations.

Board member Charles Weber mentioned a possible fourth criteria, which is the new regional ag/science center.

Lorentz underlined the board's need to become a single voice over the issue, saying the same things to each community in unison.

"We must be on the same page," Lorentz said. It's important that board members all say the same thing, he said.

Board member Leo Weber expressed regret that the board had to choose between the two towns.

"That's too bad we have to be doing that," he said. "It's trying to pit one community against another."

"I'm still hoping for a miracle we can build between the two towns," he said.

"It's water under the bridge," Heuer said. "We need to accept that," he said.

"It doesn't mean we agree, but we need to make a consensus," Heuer said. "At some point, you need to move on."

The board should spend time digesting the information from the two cities' plans and then start having public hearings and special council meetings, Lorentz said.

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