Even as students finish with distance learning for the current school year, plans continue for the design and layout of the new Owatonna High School. The facility is expected to open in the fall of 2023 and is located near the intersection of Highway 14 and Highway 218 in southeast Owatonna.

The Owatonna Public Schools periodic e-newsletter update covers notes from an April virtual meeting of the high school planning team and committees. The group is weighing the value of a three-story building compared to a two-story facility. They are also looking at "a balance of flexible and open learning spaces to create a viable and relevant learning environment."

The next meetings will continue to refine the room and space design. A presentation is scheduled to be delivered to the school board in June. For more details on the bond vote that was approved in November 2019 and information on local businesses and their support of the new high school, visit owatonnaproud.org.

Through the newsletter, the district says 'Thanks' to residents "for your support and patience during an incredibly difficult time. This has been a challenging time for our staff, students, and certainly our families. That you for being excellent partners in educating our students."

Distance learning will continue through the balance of the academic year. Device collection will occur between June 1 and 5.

Free meals for students age 18 and younger will continue through June 5. Starting the week of May 4 some hot lunch options will be available at McKinley, Wilson, and the middle school pick-up sites. The hot lunches will be available Wednesdays and Fridays and might expand to Tuesdays as well. Call the Nutrition Services Department at 507-444-8616 with questions.

The newsletter also offers some multi-media presentations including cruise-through parades for students/staff and visual arts.

In other school news, high school administration, teachers, and staff delivered graduation gowns and caps plus yard signs to seniors Friday, May 1. (Thanks to the OHS Magnet for this story.)