Herald and Journal, Feb. 25, 2002

New high school issue resurfacing

By Lynda Jensen

Fresh blood infused into the long-term facilities issue may yield solutions, or at least this appears to be the hope of the HLWW school board.

The board set a special session 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28 at the HLWW media center to discuss its long-term space needs, including a potential new high school, or other long-term solution.

Since November, new board members John Lideen and Charlie Borrell took their places among the board. The board is also very different because it reflects fewer members ­ nine down to seven ­ pared down by a previous consolidation plan.

There is a definite crunch for space in all three buildings including the buildings in Winsted, Waverly and Howard Lake, said Supt. Riley Hoheisel.

The issue cropped up when the board approved remodeling to the Winsted Elementary building that would change a cooler into additional classroom space during its meeting Tuesday.

"We're making another closet into a classroom," Chairman Jim Raymond said.

Remodeling existing space costs $600 per square foot, Raymond said. "It's very expensive."

"We need to get going on this," Board Member Charlie Borrell said, referring to the long-term need for space. "We need the room."

"We can get by one or two years," commented Ken Zimmerman. "We need the room."

Lideen indicated that he would like to research remodeling existing facilities.

"I don't believe the community is ready for a new high school," Lideen said.

"I would like to see a new high school, but I don't think it's attainable," Zimmerman said.

"This has been talked about in the past," Chairman Jim Raymond noted.

When the direction of this issue is decided, the district will update its long-term goals.

However, one goal that was abandoned by the board was pursuing a consolidation with Lester Prairie.

"We've talked many, many, times and it's not any different than before," Hoheisel said. He felt the Lester Prairie board was not serious about consolidation, he added.

A timeline of the new school issue

Discussion about a potential new high school or other solution to solving the HLWW school districts space crunch has been ongoing since 1997.

The HLWW recently decided to set a public meeting to re-open this issue.

Sept. 22, 1997

The school district is growing, said Robert Wuornos, as he explained a demographic report to the HLWW School Board.

Wuornos is director of marketing research from Northwest Associated Consultants, Inc.

Nov. 24, 1997

New high school in the future for HLWW?

School board will appoint task force to make recommendations for new/existing facilities.

Comments on the resolution to appoint a task force to study the need for a new school facility flew at a furious pace at the HLWW school board meeting.

Jan. 26, 1998

New school task force taking shape

The task force of 15 that will investigate needs for the HLWW School District is starting to develop.

Some of the people who have agreed to serve are: Michael Day, Dean Wessman, and Riley Hoheisel from school administration, Jim Fowler and James Raymond from the school board, Gerry Smith, Birdie Jackson, and Jack Littfin from the business community, and Joe Campbell and Janet Perry, parents.

March 30, 1998

Land use meeting for Victor Township set

The Victor Township Board and Victor Township Land Use Plan Committee will sponsor an informational meeting to review proposed amendments to the Wright County Land Use Plan for Victor Township, Tuesday, April 7, at 8 p.m. in the Victor Township Hall.

April 27, 1998

New high school needed, task force says

The task force reached a consensus that Howard Lake-Winsted-Waverly School District needs a new high school.

The task force submitted a summary of its progress to the school board last Monday by Jim Fowler, task force member.

The task force met with Carolyn Drude of Ehlers and Associates, the district's bonding consultants, April 15.

May 25, 1998

HLWW approaches Lester Prairie about school pairing

The HLWW school district has approached the Lester Prairie district regarding pairing and sharing of districts.

Lester Prairie Board Member Barry Kyllo and Supt. James Redfield told other board members Tuesday that they attended a meeting recently with the HLWW school board chair, building committee chair, and superintendent.

"I wasn't around in the 1980s when I think that was the last time pairing was talked about, but I understand there were a lot of bad feelings," Kyllo said. "I didn't get that sense this time. I was impressed with the manner (the meeting) was done," he said.

Kyllo told the board the HLWW district is going to build a new high school and is working with a consultant on bonding and tax issues.

"They want the bonding referendum by this fall . . . and they are going to do this regardless of what we do. Part of their plan is to pull back the open enrollment kids," Kyllo said. "If they are successful, it will have ramifications in Lester Prairie," he said.

Aug. 24, 1998

Direction for new school task force debated

Opinions differed among HLWW School Board members about the original charge given to the long range facilities task force in its investigative work on the future needs of the school district.

Sept. 28, 1998

Task force wants neutral party to choose school site

The HLWW School Board agreed to hire the architect it normally uses, Abendroth, Rego, and Youngquist of Wayzata, to evaluate current facilities and do a site analysis for a possible new school building.

The contract for the projects is for approximately $17,000 with any over-runs to come out of the six percent fee the firm would charge for the actual school construction.

Board members came to this decision after they had discussed requests from the Long Range Facilities Task Force.

April 26, 1999

HLWW, LP school boards begin consolidation talk

The money is significant, HLWW Superintendent Riley Hoheisel told the Lester Prairie School Board last Monday.

He referred to the $5 million to $6 million dollars that should be available in the form of a state grant to build a new high school, if the HLWW and Lester Prairie School Districts decided to consolidate.

April 26, 1999

Financial estimates of HLWW-LP consolidation

Ehlers and Associates released figures related to a potential consolidation.

Oct. 25, 1999

Winsted residents discuss school issue at town meeting

A standing-room-only crowd came to listen to and discuss the pros and cons of a potential new high school for the HLWW school district, in the Winsted Elementary gym.

Former Winsted mayor Don Guggemos moderated the public meeting. Also present to provide input and answer questions were Mayor Floyd Sneer, City Administrator Aaron Reeves, HLWW Superintendent Riley Hoheisel, and three of the 10 HLWW Site Task Force members: co-chair Jack Littfin, Jim Fowler, who is also a school board member, and Deb Gatz.

Nov. 29, 1999

Task of reviewing questionnaires begins for school

More than 950 school district residents responded to the task force's informal questionnaire sent out in September, and task force members have received the raw data compiled from hundreds of questionnaire responses.

The task force's two co-chairs were pleased with the response of so many individuals.

Dec. 27, 1999

HLWW school board pleased with survey response

Joe Campbell, co-chair of the task force assigned to determine the need for a new school for the HLWW School District, read the summary of a recent survey sent out to district residents to the school board last Monday.

The 15 to 20 percent response from a recent survey sent out by the Long Range Facilities Task Force to District 2687 residents is considered to be very good, said consultant Linda Schroeder.

A majority of respondents, 71 percent, said they understand the need for a new high school, and the same number believe that a new high school could enhance the district's competitiveness with surrounding districts.

Campbell said 70 percent think choosing a new name for the school district would be worth considering.

Feb. 28, 2000

Purchase agreement on school site approved

Purchase of the Gordon Dalbec property on Wright County Rds. 6 and 30, just south of Victor Township Hall, was approved by the HLWW School Board.

First the site must be approved by Victor Township, and the next step in that process will take place at a special township meeting March 2 in the Victor Township Hall, Hoheisel said.

March 27, 2000

HLWW school site task force asked to regroup

The Victor Township Board voted 3-0 against the idea of a new school on the corner of Wright County Rds. 6 and 30 at its last meeting.

April 17, 2000

Facilities task force must pick new site for high school

Criteria. It's all about the criteria, architect Bob Abendroth told the HLWW Facilities Site Task Force Wednesday.

The task force has spent the last two years and over 100 meetings trying to determine if the residents of the district support a new high school and the location of that facility.

Nov. 27, 2000

New committee formed to address new school location

A crowd of more than 30 people attended the regular HLWW school board meeting Nov. 20 to address the site for a potential new school.

The most recent turn of events for the school site has been Victor Township's decision Nov. 13 against changing its land use policy to accommodate the school in the center of the township, although the township would allow a school to be constructed along its borders.

This effectively eliminated the Gordon Dalbec property from the list of choices, Hoheisel said.

Dec. 25, 2000

HLWW school board discusses study, high school site

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 HLWW School Board.

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.

Jan. 22, 2001

HLWW to get cities' proposals for new school site

The HLWW School Board planned its next step in the future potential high school site selection during its meeting.

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.

Feb. 26, 2001

School site process still in progress

Superintendent Riley Hoheisel carefully avoided making any statements about the proposed new high school site location issue, saying only that the district was still collecting information on the two locations "to compare apples to apples."

April 23, 2001

Winsted school site is OK'd by HLWW board

With little fanfare, the board approved the site near Winsted as the best choice between the two remaining possible sites for a new high school, as recommended by the sub-committee that studied the issue.

May 21, 2001

Cost to build new high school is higher now

The passage of time and inflation in the building market is the chief factor for an estimated 26 percent increase in the cost of a new school, according to the architect, said Superintendent Riley Hoheisel.

June 25, 2001

No promises, but Lester Prairie leaves door open

Attendees of a joint school board meeting left the discussion with few promises, as Lester Prairie school board members asked for more time to consider a possible consolidation effort with the HLWW school district.

Aug. 27, 2001

HLWW forms committee for possible consolidation

The formation of a new committee to oversee a potential consolidation with Lester Prairie highlighted a meeting with the HLWW school board last Monday.

Nov. 19, 2001

Schools suspend consolidation talks

Talk of a potential consolidation between Lester Prairie and the HLWW school districts was suspended following a committee meeting, following elections that involved members against consolidation being appointed on both boards.

Dec. 24, 2001

HLWW Supt. Hoheisel to retire at end of 2001-02 school year.

The resignation of long-time Superintendent Riley Hoheisel dominated the HLWW School Board meeting.

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