Building Owatonna High School’s new home

Teagun Ahrens, Writer

With construction starting on May 6, 2021, the new Owatonna High School is now under a year away from completion. The 317,000 square foot building has been coming along very nicely without any major setbacks. The Kraus Anderson Construction crew has been hard at work every day to ensure the building is set to finish on the target date. They will continue to work through the winter to ensure the school will be complete.

In the last month the construction crew members have been installing drywall, installing plumbing in the new OHS kitchen and have been working on the main mechanical room rough-ins as well as much more. Director of Facilities Mr. Bob Olson said, “There is new stuff going up and happening on a daily basis. As of right now we probably have around 175 workers a day on site and we look to work that way through the winter months as well.” 

The crews have been working in a train like fashion starting on the third floor and working down, the third floor has sheetrock up and is being painted, while the second floor is having electrical being installed and the first floor still has bare walls with metal framing up. Artificial turf has been laid on the athletic fields and the catwalk is being installed in the auditorium. Many things are happening at once at the new site. Mr. Olson said, “It is like a dance that Kraus Anderson has done a great job of choreographing” 

It is a huge honor to be a part of a process that usually only happens especially for high schools, only once about every one hundred years.”

— Mr. Kath

While students are excited to move into the new high school, staff members share the same excitement. Principal Kory Kath said, “It is a huge honor to be a part of a process that usually only happens especially for high schools, only once about every one hundred years.” The new school will provide a great place for students to learn and for teachers and other faculty to make an impact on the education of Owatonna. 

With all the new state of the art education equipment teachers can expect and be excited with new things to learn and teach as they move to the new school. Principal Kory Kath said, “We have a full culinary kitchen, we have a full nursing lab, our science labs will be updated, the woods room and the metals room will be updated to look like something you would actually see in industry.” Not only will the students be learning, but the teachers as well. Industrial tech and ag teacher Ms. Jamie Gray said, “The Ag.department is going to focus on three different pathways: power and tech, animal science pathway and plant science pathway as well as a general ag pathway.” The new environment for the Agriculture department will mean more classes and more excitement being brought to the students.

With all new classrooms and learning environments, the teachers will be able to learn how to use the new space to maximize learning possibilities. Principal Kath said, “The community will come to our auditorium, they will come to our commons, and they will come to our stadium and gym. That is how we connect with the people that are visiting us, so I want people to know that we care about the fact that we will be a host site for so many events and how cool it will be to be able to showcase those new spaces.” The new high school will bring new innovation to further unite the Owatonna community.  

I think I will be more excited to go to school and to learn in the new spaces, I think the new spaces will make it easier to learn and we will have a lot of fun there as well.”

— Keanan Larson

Student athletes are excited for the new high school. Being able to play and practice on a new field will provide quite the change in Owatonna athletics. Junior Keenan Larson is involved in many sports at OHS and is excited to be able to use the new athletic facilities. With a new football stadium, new tennis courts, new soccer and lacrosse fields, new softball and baseball fields, a synthetic turf field and full track in the stadium there will be many options for student-athletes. Larson said,” I think the new spaces will make it easier to learn and we will have a lot of fun there as well.” Students will also look forward to going to the new high school to learn in a new learning environment . Larson said, “I think I will be more excited to go to school and to learn in the new spaces, I think the new spaces will make it easier to learn and we will have a lot of fun there as well.”

Nearing the final stages, the new Owatonna High School is set to be complete during the summer of 2023. Students will have something to look forward to over the winter and through next spring and summer.