Herald JournalHerald Journal, June 7, 2004

HLWW renews call to set up task force for facilities

By Jody Anderson

With a spirit of perseverance, a group of concerned citizens and school staff met with the representatives of Smiley, Glotter and Nyberg to discuss facility solutions facing the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school district Tuesday.

Project Manager Gary Nyberg proposed setting up a new facility task force committee, comprised of those present and any other citizens from the three cities.

The group agreed to meet Tuesday, June 22 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Winsted Elementary, and later in Waverly 7 to 8:30 p.m. July 13 at Humphrey Elementary.

Nyberg asked all attending to introduce themselves; citizens from all three communities were present.

Nyberg reviewed recent events, assuring the crowd that many solutions were possible depending upon the objective of the residents.

“We want to know where you are and what lessons can be learned from the last referendum,” he added.

Nyberg began with a review of 13 previous plans proposed by earlier committees, comparing and contrasting them.

He was enlightened by some members of these committees that in essence, at this point, three possible plans were considered viable. The three options are:

Option One

Buy land south of Highway 12 (60 to 80 acres). No site was specified.

Construct a new multi-level building with 120,000 square feet. It should be large enough for 600 students.

Cost from information collected would be $14 million, with $12 million being the building at $100 per square foot, $1 million for land and utilities, and the rest being a contingency portion.

The next proposal: build a new elementary or middle school on the same land. The committee wants the board to look into energy-efficient building concepts.

“We don’t want a cardboard box, something energy efficient,” Bakeberg said. “We felt if it was built between towns, Winsted would support it,” he said.

Option Two

Buy land south of Highway 12 (60 to 80 acres). No site was specified.

Construct a new multi-level building with 50,000 square feet. It should be large enough for 400 students. The site should be suitable to convert into a middle school in the future.

Construct a new two-story free standing building 40,000-square foot, attached to Waverly Elementary. The building should be large enough for 325 students.

Cost from information collected would be $5 million for the 50,000 building on new land, $4 million for the 40,000 square foot building at Waverly, $1 million for the land and utilities, and the rest being a contingency portion.

The options were tabled for the architect to obtain proposals.

The next proposal would be to build a high school on the same land. The existing school building would be used to fit needs.

Option Three

To come up with the cost of exactly what the district is doing now with portables, in permanent form. It is unknown if this option is acceptable to the state, but the board wanted to have something to compare to when it came to cost.

There was much discussion as to the possibility of maintaining the elementary schools in Waverly and Winsted, most of the people present assured Nyberg that this was an important point.

“It’s a terribly traumatic experience for a parent to put their kids on the bus for the first day of school as it is,” commented Adrian Duske from Waverly.

Another position held by the majority was the need for a sequence of events to be scheduled.

“It has to be a series,” emphasized Al Moy of Waverly. “We have to know how we are going to get there.

Bob Sherman of Winsted emphasized the need to take the first step: “If you don’t pick the land, you can’t get the levy through,” he said.

There were disparate opinions as to whether a new building should be a middle school or a high school, since most new residents appear to have small children.

Also controversial, of course, is the site itself. Nyberg emphasized the need to keep the building close to one of the cities, due to infrastructural costs, but consensus of the attending residents emphasized a “middle” location, with disregard for costs.

Nyberg informed the public that his firm had learned, from experience, that in order to obtain their goals, the school district needed three conditions: a united school board, a school staff that supported the objectives, and positive support from the press.

He also stressed the need to keep the general public informed.

“People want to know what’s coming up,” he said.

Nyberg proposed bringing a clear explanation of the three basic plans back to the task force, and also promised to take a detailed tour of all three buildings in order to consider some remodeling proposals.

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