Superintendent of Owatonna Public Schools Jeff Elstad addressed the school board during a work session Thursday, August 1 to discuss options regarding the high school. He spoke of concerns raised by the community since the narrow defeat of a bond referendum in May to build a new facility.

A news release from the school district indicated some of the main concerns heard from a series of community listening sessions. District residents want more information on the idea of remodeling the current high school. Some want to see a lower overall cost, feeling the proposal had too high an impact on tax payers.

Other comments include the desire to have a plan for the current high school if a new building is approved at a different site. Some wanted to see a design plan for a new school. Click here for more details on the community listening sessions.

Elstad said the district is working to address those concerns. He brought up the potential for a two-question ballot. The first question would be on a new high school. The second question, if the first passes, would address re-purposing the current facility. Construction cost for a new building would be $104 million dollars. That figure includes a reduction in total square footage by planning for 1,600 students rather than 1,700. The cost also factors in corporate business donations, which were numerous for a new high school. A remodeling of the current building is reportedly $99 million dollars.

The school board will discuss recommendations at their Monday, August 12 meeting. The meeting will be held at the district office at 5:30 pm and is open to the public.


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