Herald JournalHerald Journal, March 3, 2003

Input begins for HLWW site plans

By Lynda Jensen

Crowds attended informal town meetings at Waverly and Winsted for the beginning of public discussion about Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District site issues.

"I think people appreciated the opportunity to provide input," commented Dean Wessman, principal of Waverly Elementary and curriculum coordinator.

A crowd of about 40 attended the Waverly meeting Tuesday, and slightly smaller crowd attended Winsted Thursday.

During the meetings, attendees wrote messages on sticky notes, making remarks about site ideas.

Comments repeated more than once at both meetings commended the district for the information presented, and that it is important to keep a school in each community.

People who attended the Waverly meeting included a good mix of parents, business owners, and senior citizens.

The majority of the public to attend Winsted was older citizens, however, a few younger couples and their children did attend.

"I think people are extremely curious about getting it done," commented architect Kevin Halbach of KKE Architects, who was present at both meetings.

Another issue is addressing all three communities, he said. Winsted attendees also asked a lot of questions about moving forward with land acquisition, he said.

"Let people know 'exactly' the problems with space and technology (computer types, number of kids per class). Show adults how bad it is," commented one Waverly attendee.

"We like the idea of an elementary school in both Waverly and Winsted ­ as growth will more likely be in those grades," another commented at the Waverly meeting.

"Go for the red option while the interest is low," commented a Winsted resident at the Winsted meeting. Options are detailed in the boxed area.

Written comments are located on Page 4 of this week's Herald Journal.

The HLWW school board has doubled its board meetings to discuss its long term facilities, with the options of remodeling and/or building a new high school being brought up once again.

A special meeting is set for 8 p.m. Monday, March 10 at the high school media center to discuss the referendum and go over input from the three town meetings.

Groups and organizations that wish to meet with board members are being asked to contact Superintendent George Ladd.

Reviewing the options

The following are options being considered by the HLWW school district for its long term site facilities.

Red Option

Possible cost: $10 to 15 million

Winsted School: remodel and expand building for grades k-5, 280 students

Waverly School: remodel and expand building for grades k-5, 280 students

Howard Lake School: remodel existing building for grades 6-8, 9-12 and remodel k-3 rooms for Middle School use

Additional options:

1. Purchase up to 80 acres (plus or minus) for future High School and future Middle School

2. Build track, football stadium and ball fields on new purchased land

3. Build multi-use gym at Waverly

4. Remodel / improve or expand Howard Lake auditorium

5. Technology system and equipment

6. Bus garage

White Option

Possible Cost: $10 to $15 Million

Winsted School: remodel building (boiler/heating system, roofing, windows, floor replacement, special ed rooms) for grades k-3

Waverly School: remodel building (kitchen and roofing) for grades k-3

Howard Lake School: remodel building for grades 4,5 and 6-8

New School: 80,000 sq. foot school on 80 acres (plus or minus) with new athletic facilities, grades 9-12, 400 students.

Additional options:

1. Technology system and equipment

2. Bus garage

Blue Option

Open for discussion.

Comments from HLWW town meetings

By Kevin Halbach, KKE Architects

The following are written comments collected from the public attending the Public Information Meetings regarding facility improvements.

Meetings took place Tuesday in Waverly at Humphrey Elementary, and Thursday at Winsted Elementary.

The Howard Lake meeting will take place Monday, March 3 at 7 p.m. at the high school auditorium.

Winsted comments

· Costs appear too low.

· Change name to "Central Lakes High School."

· Buy the land now so when we are ready to build we have it.

· Buy the land. Its' not getting cheaper.

· Money for technology.

· New athletic facilities tied into community center.

· Continue to support the great arts programs.

· Consider with the addition of athletic facilities in the Red Option which I support ­ community use center ­ pool, walking track, machines. Visit Delano and Rockford.

· Technology needs are mandatory to the success of our students and community. We are loosing valuable lessons by not utilizing technology.

· We need to keep K-5 together. It is not a good idea for 4 ­ 8th to be together. It would be good if the board worked together and put the school where it best suites the children not, what town they want the school to be in. Go for the Red Option while the interest is low.

· Purchase land needs immediately. Site location should not deter the process.

· Change name of school district to "West Suburban Lakes."

· School district should work out public/private arrangement to share facilities.

· Keep the focus on the kids and what's best for them. In the past too much emphasis on where school is located.

· Any consideration for a "community center" as part of a new high school/middle school?

· Thank you for providing options! The thoughtfulness and research show in your displays.

· This process has been delayed too long.

· Very important to keep a school in each community.

· Very good information.

· I like the idea of a grade school in each community ­ can it be as efficient? Thanks for this opportunity.

· Definitely like the red option but I would not like to have someone have open authority to purchase 80 acres without the board's approval of the land. Remodel and add space before you build a new school.

· Keep kids K-5 ­ putting 4th grade students into a middle school environment is not the best situation for kids. These children are still 9 and 10 years old and need to be in an elementary setting ­ let our kids be kids. K-5 in Waverly's Winsted saves on long bus rides for students and it gives more options in the communities. The people moving here are young families with elementary students ­ people are shopping for schools. We need to make our schools marketable or possibly lose students to other districts.

· Do the costs include operating costs / classroom set up? Will there be extra space to accommodate growth or other programs as they arise? Get all-day, everyday kindergarten. We should build with some comfort rather than meet only what we need to be tight again in a few years ­ which could hinder the implementation of programs that are beneficial to students.

Waverly comments

The following are written comments collected from the public attending the Public Information Meetings regarding facility improvements. Comments are not edited, revised, or adjusted.

· Very good information here!

· A little short on specifics.

· What happened to these remodeled building if a new school is ever built?

· Technology costs and equipment.

· Looks pretty good for all communities.

· Let people know "exactly" the problems with space and technology (computer types, # of kids per class). Show adults how bad it is.

· We like the idea of an elementary school in both Waverly and Winsted ­ as growth will more likely be in those grades.

· Then move slowly to building New High School. The current High School does need major cleaning to keep fresh new appearance.

· Life expectancy of remodeled buildings.

· Cost of swimming pool.

· Terminology needs to be more user friendly.

· Will you put an Operating Levy (Referendum) to the public at same time as building (i.e. Delano didn't pass operation)?

· Explain "bond election" and "referendum" terms!

· Drinking water (etc.) at ball fields in Waverly!

· Blue Option ­ Idea: Winsted Option Red ­ along with Waverly White and future growth for High School ­ purchase land now.

· Red Option but change Winsted Remodel to add expansion as planned in White Option. Purchase land now for future New High School.

· Glad to see communities each have their own school in both options (Red/White).

· What about gymnastics and track wrestling?

· In White Option, concern over enough gym space.

· Where will gymnastics, wrestling, dance, community ed, be? Space? Storage?

· If you wait to purchase land, where and at what price will it be available?

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