Herald JournalHerald Journal, July 18, 2005

HLWW names new site in Victor Twp. for school

December ballot to feature HLWW bond

By Jenni Sebora

A site midway between Howard Lake and Winsted was chosen as the new location for the future high school by the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school board last Monday.

Pending the legalities of the contract, such as soil borings and annexation, the board unanimously approved entering into a purchase agreement with Donald Dangers for 73 acres of land for $1.6 million for a new school building site.

Board and land committee member Lori Custer noted that the purchase agreement would not include the homestead part, but the committee has negotiated first bids to purchase it when it would come up for sale.

The site is just north of Victor Township town hall, parallel to Wright County Road 6 on the east side.

“The site actually touches Victor town hall,” Superintendent George Ladd noted.

Because the site is in the township, the city and township must work out an annexation agreement, and if that occurs, the county won’t have to be involved much in the whole process, Ladd explained.

A legal contract will be drawn up giving the school authorization to enter into an agreement with Dangers.

The board also unanimously approved the building bond election date as Tuesday, Dec. 13.

In the near future, the board will decide on the length of the bond as well as what the ballot will look like in terms of the number of questions voters will vote on.

Architect Gary Nyberg of SGN noted again that having two questions on the ballot would be fine, noting that the second question would be somewhat of a “sacrificial lamb” – something the district could live without.

“Some people voting may vote yes for the first question and not the second, with the feeling that they will give the school something, but it can’t have everything,” Nyberg said.

Nyberg continued to further explain construction building details regarding the building bond.

One such issue that needs to be decided is the type of heating system to be put in the new building. Conventional versus ground source was discussed. Using ground source would eventually give a pay back to the district but would cost more up front, which could increase the initial bond amount, Nyberg noted.

Other questions that Nyberg addressed that were fielded from the previous school board meeting, were such issues as the cost to add a stage to Winsted Elementary’s gym, which would be approximately $150,000, and the cost to replace or improve the gym floor at Humphrey Elementary.

To replace the asbestos tile and put in synthetic flooring would cost approximately $50,000 and a new wood floor would be around $60,000, Nyberg noted.

Ladd noted that if the asbestos flooring remains encapsulated, it may not have to be removed and a new surface could be put over the top of the existing to save on costs.

These are just some of the issues that will continue to be discussed as the project moves along, Ladd noted.

Nyberg also addressed three key issues to get a bond passed which include, a unified board, which he noted HLWW has, good press coverage, and having a staff that is informed of the building plans and issues.

Nyberg also reviewed notes that he kept from the 2003 bond failure including possible reasons for the bond failure at that time, such as asking for too much at one time, a divided board, not enough information to the public as to what they would be getting with the building bond, and issues with the site chosen.

“I think we are taking care of these issues . . .the board is unified. You have done a good job with researching the sites and choosing a site, and we are working at informing people of what the building plans entail,” Nyberg said.

The board, administration and Nyberg are working on when and how to meet with the various staff at each of the HLWW school buildings to inform them about the building bond details, which will include meeting in large and small groups.

Bus policy in place for the 2005-06 school year

The board unanimously approved the bus policy for 2005-06. As suggested by the state, the policy includes an explanation as to who can ride, distance from the school, and a definition of hazards.

Highlights of the policy includes explanations that transportation will be offered to all resident students living more than four blocks from the public school in their respective town. Designated bus stops in various housing developments within the communities will be set up using the four-block requirement.

Transportation will offered to all resident preschool students as long as the regular bus is not overloaded and/or does not disrupt the busing schedule.

Kindergarten students will follow the same four-block policy, except for the noon transportation for half-day kindergarten students, which will be at designated stops.

Students with special needs may be exempt from the four-block policy based on individual needs.

The policy also explains that if resident students live in a hazardous area, as defined in the policy, transportation will be available to that location of residence to the school attending.

One bus route has also been eliminated.

Odds and ends

In other matters, the board:

• approved the award of sale of $1.615 million aid anticipation certificates of indebtedness from the lowest bidder, Cronin & Company, Inc., Minneapolis. Local banks did not get involved.

• approved attachment 99 to the Health and Safety plan to allow the district to access health and safety money.

• adopted the resolution calling for a primary school board election if needed.

• approved the truth in taxation hearing date for Monday, Dec. 5 with the continuation date set for Monday, Dec. 19, if necessary.

• accepted the resignation of biology teacher Adam Pettinger and approved the hiring of Daniel Athman as his replacement.

• approved hiring Jennifer Olson as the elementary principal and Alison Moe at BA 0 as an early childhood special education teacher replacing Laura Smallbrock.

• for 2005-06, awarded Pan O’ Gold the bakery bid, Kemps the dairy bid, DESS for snowplowing at the Howard Lake site, D&D Plowing for the Waverly site, and Kubasch Excavation for the Winsted site; Waste Management the waste removal bid for Winsted site and Mumford Sanitation for Howard Lake and Waverly sites.

• approved the cosmetic remodeling of the commons bathrooms, not to exceed $8,000. Board members Dan Schaible and Tom Hammer put together information on estimates for the improvements to the bathrooms.

The board hopes to have much of the work completed by volunteers and to have the improvements completed before the start of school in fall.

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