Owatonna Superintendent Jeff Elstad, along with school district officials, educators and members of the Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce welcomed community members to an open house at the remodeled Owatonna Middle School Monday.

OMS principal Julie Sullivan said the addition of 24 classrooms has allowed the move to a true middle school with the inclusion of sixth graders. Changes include expansion of the cafeteria, renovation of the media center and remodeling of some existing classrooms.

She said, "The design of the new spaces is aligned with the changes in how education is delivered today. You will see expanded spaces for students to collaborate while still being visible to the classroom teachers. You'll see new large group spaces that can accommodate teams, presentations and potentially community events."

Elstad thanked Cybex for the donation of work out equipment in the value of about $100,000. Representatives of Wold Architects and Donlar Construction were acknowledged. Chamber president Brad Meier addressed the crowd before Elstad and former Superintendent Peter Grant cut the ribbon.

School district voters passed a referendum in 2015 that paved the way for numerous changes including security and safety upgrades at all schools. Willow Creek School was transformed into an elementary school and renamed McKinley to ease overcrowded buildings. An open house was also held there on Monday.

The plan for reshaping Owatonna's education landscape came together through a series of meetings involving staff, teacher and community members.

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