May 8, 2023
Wold Architects shared this presentation at the School Board Work Session, including timeline and plans for the current high school.
April 24, 2023
The School Board unanimously approved the Existing OHS Citizens' Task Force recommendation (below) regarding the current high school.
April 10, 2023
The Existing OHS Citizens' Task Force made their recommendation to the School Board. The recommendation as stated in the March 16 task force minutes (page 6, item 2): "The Task Force is recommending to the School Board to cease negotiations with FOHS and proceed with the District’s project on their own timeline. The project should demolish the portions of the building that will not be used by the District and retain the green space. The Task Force suggests the School Board evaluate any future uses of the property with the Task Force’s criteria outlined in previous recommendations on how to use the property to best serve the School District and the Community."
The Existing OHS Citizens' Task Force learned about the proposal submitted by Former OHS, LLC and used their guiding principles to review it. They provided a list of follow-up questions to FOHS, LLC, and will reconvene after FOHS, LLC, supplies additional information.
For more information, click "Existing High School" below.
In November 2019, the community voted to build a new high school and to allocate $8M toward repurposing the current high school campus for school district and/or community needs.
Existing OHS Citizens' Task Force Recommendation
On April 11, 2022, the existing OHS citizens' task force presented its recommendation at the school board work session. The task force recommends that the District:
own and operate the C plaza, gymnasium/locker room spaces, and VoAg building, as well as support spaces such as parking to support functions currently housed at 515 W Bridge Street and 115 E Rose Street.
enter into a Development Agreement with Paul Warshauer of Grande Venues / Former Owatonna High School (FOHS) LLC to explore potential redevelopment of the remainder of the building/complex as outlined in the proposal dated March 9, 2022.
provide regular updates to the task force as the process with Paul Warshauer of Grande Venues / FOHS (Former Owatonna High School) LLC progresses.
call the task force back to action when more information is available (anticipated to be near the end of the 180-day time period requested from the developer) before final decisions are made by the School Board.
Existing Owatonna High School Citizens' Task Force
The Existing Owatonna High School Citizens' Task Force was convened to examine the future of the existing Owatonna High School facility, which will no longer be used for 9-12 instruction when the new high school opens in 2023. As a part of the November 2019 Bond Referendum, the community voted to approve question #2 which allocated funds for the conversion of portions of the building for District use. As a part of this funding request, the District committed to engaging the community about the future of the facility, and this Existing OHS Citizens’ Task Force is a part of that process.
Task Force Members
Thank you to everyone who applied to be a part of this task force! Nearly 60 applications were received and 25 people have been chosen to represent a broad cross-section of the community.
April St. Martin
Julie (Blekeberg) Fiske
Meeting #1: Tuesday, November 9, 2021 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Reviewed the purpose of the task force and became acquainted with everyone who is participating
Had increased focus on direction and goals
Considered input from the broader community via the ideas submitted for the existing OHS via the Engage Owatonna website platform
Learned more about the existing building and needs
Completed grounding work to start off on a solid base
Meeting #2: Thursday, November 18, 2021 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Toured the existing high school. The tour showed why we are building a new school and helped to understand what deficiencies there are with the building and how that will affect the potential solutions.
The task force now has background information about the existing building and can focus on coming up with solutions.
This is not a small task. This is a difficult decision and everyone is working hard on it.
Meeting #3: Thursday, December 2, 2021 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The group explained that they have heard that the District has several needs and are debating if the reuse of this site is the best place to fulfill them.
The group explained that they are not taking the task lightly.
The group explained that there are conflicted feelings about how the District using portions of the site and building could affect potential partners.
Meeting #4: Wednesday, December 15, 2021 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (Canceled due to forecasted weather)
Meeting #5: Thursday, January 6, 2022 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Clarified the language of the ballot referendum language and what is possible.
The group clarified the need for the district to use parts of the building.
The group discussed the opportunity for the use of the rest of the building and/or site to be put out for offers to developers.
An offer from a developer could change the outlook on what happens to the site.
Meeting #6: Wednesday, January 19, 2022 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (Canceled - will be rescheduled soon)
Meeting: Tuesday, March 22, 2022 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Prepare for School Board recommendation
Owatonna Public Schools received input from the community to help write the next chapter for the current high school campus. Engage Owatonna offered the District a platform to gather ideas from community members to help decide how the current Owatonna High School property will be used and supported. District administration collected ideas and prioritized them and the Existing Owatonna High School Citizens' Task Force reviewed all data and options.
Please contact Superintendent Jeff Elstad with any questions at (507) 444-8601 or via email at email@example.com.
The Owatonna Public School District is pleased to announce that another local business, Home Federal Savings Bank, has joined many other local businesses in support of the new high school for Owatonna.
Home Federal Savings Bank will donate $50,000 to be used toward the new high school, demonstrating their continued support of the Owatonna Public Schools and the community of Owatonna. In addition, Home Federal Savings Bank will be placing two ATM machines in the new high school at no expense to the district.
"We are committed to giving back to our communities and are proud to support the Owatonna Public Schools. The education of our young people and preparing them for their future, will help ensure the continued success of Owatonna and its businesses,” stated Brad Vettrus, Market President, Home Federal Savings Bank.
"We continue to be thankful for the generosity of our local businesses and amazed by the pride felt by all who live and work within our community,” stated Jeff Elstad, Superintendent of Owatonna Public School District.
Owatonna Public Schools hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the new high school on Thursday, May 6. The event included remarks by Superintendent Jeff Elstad, School Board Chair Mark Sebring, High School Principal Kory Kath, and Owatonna Education Association President and teacher Todd Andrix. Many community partners, staff, students and planning committee members were present to participate in a shovel ceremony.
Participating community partners included representatives from the local business that expressed their commitment to Owatonna and the need to attract and retain quality employees through their combined financial gifts of $22 million plus in-kind donations. The tax impact for the Owatonna community was reduced by 20% thanks to the generosity of business donations from Federated Insurance, Mayo Clinic Health System, Viracon, Wenger Corporation, Wenger Foundation, and Gopher Sport.
After the community approved the construction of a new high school, other organizations stepped forward offering support. The ISD 761 Foundation and Owatonna Foundation each donated $250,000 to Owatonna Public Schools to construct a large community room within the new high school. And Cybex / Life Fitness has offered support for the weight and fitness room.
Staff and students of Owatonna Public Schools continue to be grateful for the community’s partnership and support for the school district and the new high school facility.
The community room will offer a 2,400 square foot meeting space that will be conveniently located near the activities entrance of the new high school with additional access to the outdoor courtyard adjacent to the stadium. The space is intended to be used for community gatherings, parent night celebrations, award ceremonies, and many other possibilities. During the school day, the space will be set for multiple class presentations and other academic activities.
We had over 100 applicants for the Core Planning Team and those selected include high school staff, students and community members.
The Core Planning Team met a total of eight times from December 2019 to April 2020, including an all-day building tour of schools.
For those not selected to be a part of the Core Planning Team, and other interested community members, additional opportunities and subcommittees were planned to gather feedback and hear input to assist during the planning process.