Herald JournalHerald Journal, July 11, 2005

HLWW working on land deal for new school

By Liz Hellmann
Staff Writer

During a work session meeting July 5, the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School Board closed the open meeting to discuss land and counter offers for the proposed new high school.

It was then announced at the special board meeting the following night, that the land would be officially voted on at the next board meeting, Monday July 18.

Maintaining four schools

The dynamics of keeping four schools open, and the specifics of the bonding bill and construction costs, were discussed at both meetings.

“I think one of the deciding factors for your district is operating four schools,” architect Gary Nyberg said. “But also knowing the politics of your district, that seems the only way to do it.”

The preliminary budget presented at the work session, estimated the additional cost of operating four schools at $552,156 for one year.

Financing could come from savings made on salary decreases, due to eight teachers retiring within the next couple years.

Additional state funding could also help. A growing district means more state dollars, but there are no guarantees.

“We have a lot of if, ands, and buts,” Superintendent George Ladd said.

Construction specifics

Nyberg, of Smiley Glotter Nyberg Architects, presented a detailed plan for the projects, including the type of materials to be used, price quotes, and building options at the facility committee and special board meeting, July 6.

As previously announced, the total estimated cost for additions at the existing schools and construction of a new high school is $22.4 million.

Additional options to the construction include $640,000 for a 20-bus garage, and $1.2 million for new athletic fields.

At the meeting, Nyberg outlined exactly what those costs include.

The question was raised by several people if the school will be “ready to go” with equipment when it is built, or if additional money will be needed to buy the necessary items.

Nyberg explained that classrooms would come with white boards, pull down screens, bulletin boards, storage closets, blinds for the windows, and phone and computer hook-ups.

The gym will be equipped with a sound system, but no scoreboards. “You’ll have to go to Pepsi or Coke for that,” Nyberg said.

The theater will house a basic lighting system.

Parking lots equipped with lights, curbs, and lines are included.

The athletic fields would be complete with drainage and fencing, but bleachers and lights are not included.

Nyberg quoted furniture costs, which had been mentioned as a concern, to be about $1,200 per student, for all new furniture. Based on a 500-student high school, the cost would be about $600,000.

The new high school and existing elementary schools will each feature a commons area for eating and gathering.

Other changes to Humphrey Elementary include a small addition to the front end, additional kitchen space, approximately 2,000 square feet of classroom space, a new special education locker room, and new boys and girls handicap accessible bathrooms.

The existing gym in the Winsted Elementary will be divided into two parts, with a corridor separating the two. The west side will contain a media center and the east side will be the commons area.

The Winsted elementary will also be obtaining a special education locker room, handicap accessible bathrooms, and additional classroom space.

Bonding questions

As the planning stages come to a head, the board no longer is as concerned with what to put on the bond referendum, but how to put it.

The board hopes to hold a public vote on the bond referendum by the second week in December.

But first, the referendum must be submitted to the state for review and comment.

Issues surrounding the referendum include whether to keep the questions of land, remodeling, athletic and bus garage construction, and a new high school as one question or separate them.

At the work session, board member Tom Hammer proposed a four- question bond referendum, and board member Al Doering suggested a three question variation.

Nyberg cautioned using more than one question, and certainly no more than two.

If given the chance to vote one down, the voters will probably do it, Nyberg explained. “You gotta be willing to live without the second question,” Nyberg said.

Another undecided question is whether it will be a 20- or 25-year bond.

The board will continue to discuss the issue, and will likely vote at the August meeting.


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