A new beginning for OHS?


Luke Kubicek

Superintendent Mr. Jeff Elstad discusses the master plan with School Board Chairman Mr. Mark Sebring

The Owatonna Public Schools Community Task Force is a local group made up of community members, three high school students and one middle school student. The committee has been meeting and working diligently since August 2018. The two goals of the task force is to discuss whether a new high school should be built or to renovate the current high school, and possibly add an addition.

The task force has to consider many factors including the building capacity, current and projected enrollment, the educational needs of the school district, safety, security, community recreation and financial stewardship. To fit all of these factors into one master plan was not an easy job and took lots of hard work from the task force. Mr. Jeff Elstad was very thankful for the task force and said, “I appreciate the efforts of our task force. They met for six meetings, plus all of the other background studying they needed to do. They reached consensus very quickly.”

After reaching a consensus on their master plan, the task force had to present the recommendation to the Owatonna School Board on Nov. 26. The recommendation they presented included constructing a new state of the art high school on a new site and consider selling the existing building to a suitable buyer or demolishing it. The proposed new high school and facilities would include building space to meet 1,700 students, five gym courts, a 900 seat auditorium, no pool would be included at this time, a stadium with 3,000 seats, a turf multi-purpose field and 100 acres of land. The total estimated cost is 138,700,000 dollars plus bond issuance.

This is a big step toward the future of Owatonna High School. The work of the task force was very helpful for the school board. The school board has scheduled a work session to decide whether they will accept the plan on Monday, Dec. 3 at 5:30 p.m. at the District Office Conference room.