‘Future phase’ of HLWW Middle School has been reported for years

Sept. 22, 2008

Actual wording of official ballot hasn’t been turned in yet

By Lynda Jensen

Wording for the official ballot regarding the fate of Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Middle School has not been turned in yet to the Secretary of State, commented Supt. George Ladd.

Ladd merely summarized what the ballot would be last week, asking voters the question “Should the district build a new middle school for about the same cost (as repairing the old), which would be attached to the new HLWW High School?”

Repairs or renovation would not amount to a sudden bill for millions of dollars, but rather represent a slow bleed of fixing items as they break down, eventually totaling to the same as building new.

Over the years, a possible middle school has been referred to as a “future phase,” in building plans and news stories in the newspaper; although not in headlines, but usually listed as part of a bigger issue, such as building the new high school.

For example, an article written June 24, 2005 had the following sentence, while describing the fall ballot at that time: “Possible future phases could include an addition at the high school for the middle school and demolition, additions and remodeling to convert Howard Lake building to an elementary school.”

In 2004-05, the school board adopted a 10-year long range plan to buy land and build a new high school, which included the plans for a possible middle school added to the high school.

This future phase was featured in drawings and literature in numerous public meetings conducted by the school, as well as expos and other public events.

Similarly, references to demolition of a section of the older portion of the former high school have been tracked in newspaper articles dating back to 2005, and facility committee reports.

Other than newspaper reports, detailed committee reports were distributed to 33 members of the public.

Members of the committee included: Bob Scherman, Jack Littfin, David Sherman, Mary Schlief, Brett Schlief, Lori Custer, Mark Custer, Bob Bakeberg, Mike Ollig, Ladd, Marylou Swedberg, Daryll Ostenberg, Charlie Weber, Don Stevenson, Viv Mahlstedt, Al Moy, Louise Hohag, Warner Hohag, Dan Judd, John Lideen, Laurie Lideen, Al Doering, Dede Doering, Sheila Asleson, Beth Horn, Becky Gerdes, Denise Merritt, Rob Merritt, Trudy Berg, Tom Hammer, Dan Schaible, Dale Engel, and Gerry Smith.

When new roofs were put on the old building, the middle section was fitted with only a 10-year roof, knowing that this old portion of the building wouldn’t hold up, Ladd said.

In November, if voters vote “yes” to building new, the idea would be to demolish the middle section of the current middle school and maintain the north and south ends for use.

The north end would continue functioning as a gym and Humphrey Hall, as it is used by the community. The south end would be maintained with the idea that with future population growth, Howard Lake would need an elementary school.

Voters will be asked about the fate of the middle school Tuesday, Nov. 4.

Do you know more about this subject, or have a comment? E-mail: news@heraldjournal.com