Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Jan. 28, 2002

LP board members visit joint use facility at Redwood Falls

By Julie Yurek

Two Lester Prairie school board members recently went to Redwood Falls to observe its joint use facility between the city and the high school.

Chairman Fred Blaser, board member Robert Remer, and Superintendent James Redfield accompanied the committee that was to view the building.

"It was very impressive," Blaser said.

The members and committee visited the building in order to get ideas of what other communities are doing, Redfield said.

"It would be nice to meet with other city's council members to see the logistics of the project, what the school board handles, the city handles, how the finances would be and so on," Blaser said.

The City of Redwood Falls paid $4 million, the school district paid $4 million, and the project received a $1 million grant from the state, Blaser said.

"We are not looking at a $9 million facility, that's just what Redwood Falls did," Blaser stressed.

The city runs the facility. It is in charge of maintaining the building and keeping it operational.

The city owns part of the land, and the school district owns the other half, Blaser said.

"The building is used for social functions, like wedding receptions. If the school district owned it all, there could not be any alcohol consumption," he said.

The facility includes four gymnasiums, a stage area, an indoor ice hockey arena, an indoor running track, weight room, community recreation room, three multi-use meeting rooms, a catering kitchen, a day care center, and the city's offices.

The facility is an addition to the performing arts center and theatre that was built when the new middle and high school were built. Community Education runs that center, Blaser said.

This new addition is connected to the junior and senior high school so students can make use of the building too, he said.

Redfield suggested expanding the joint use committee and to keep looking at other communities.

"We need to look at what our needs are, what we want to go into a building, within reason, and see what that would cost," Blaser said.

"Going out and seeing what other communities have is important," he added.

School trips

It is the wishes of the board to have a schedule of school trips for the next four years.

"A master schedule would be nice so that parents, kids, and teachers have something to rely on," said council member Barry Kyllo.

"For example, the Spanish club would go one year, the band would go the next, and so on. Every four years the schedule would rotate," Kyllo said.

Elementary Principal Pam Lukens voiced her concern about not knowing specific dates very far in advance, and dates dependent on what is available.

"The exact days don't have to be set, but we want to know which clubs or groups are going on a trip that year," Kyllo said.

"The days wouldn't be set until that school year approached," he said.

"This is just a general directive to keep in mind when making the school calendar," Blaser said.

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