St. Ansgar Schools Revitalizes Facilities Committee
“St. Ansgar Schools: Strong Traditions, Bright Futures”
From past years you may recall that our school had a committee formed to look into some future planning for the various facilities within our District. This committee had professional drawings made of the District grounds and included potential drawings and sites for a long term vision of a new elementary school, an auditorium, separation of our baseball and football fields, a new track, parking, outdoor storage with restrooms, and fencing. This initial committee did some good work in terms of gathering information and planning for the near and distant future.
In an effort to move forward with some of this planning a combination of new and old committee members have been put together to form our current District Facilities Committee. Members of this committee include: Pete Jahr (Co-Chair), Devin Schwiesow (Co-Chair), Tara Bork (Board Rep.), Brian Shupe (Board Rep.), Drew Clevenger (Faculty Rep.), Brenda Dryer (Community Rep./Grants), Elaine Steinberg (Community Rep.), Vicki Putney (Community Rep.), Tom Mayer (Community Rep.), Rich Sherman (Community Rep.), Eric Kline (Community Rep.), Lindsey Falk (Community Rep.), Sally Halvorson (Community Rep.), Merlyn Thorson (AD/Advisory Role), Scott Dryer (Principal/Advisory Role), Neil Riley (Head of Maintenance/Advisory Role). Over twenty-five letters were sent out to old and potential Facilities Committee members, and the above people have agreed to be a part of this group.
The current committee has taken on the task of addressing the needs of the following facilities: Baseball Field, Football Field, HS Stage, HS Stage Curtain, Weight Room, Outdoor Bleachers, Fencing, Outdoor Lighting, Irrigations, Parking, Outdoor Concessions, Outdoor Restrooms, Practice Fields, Physical Education Fields, and Storage. As things move forward the committee will put projects into phases that the committee would like to see or recommend to be completed in order. Each phase will be planned and worked on in relationship to how it will fit into the entire Board approved facilities plan. For example, the committee has identified Phase I as: moving the baseball field off the football field. This phase will allow the committee to move forward with other projects and planning. Facilities Committee Co-Chair Pete Jahr commented, “It is important to remember that all phases of the planning and work are equally important, from the stage to concessions to athletic fields. However, certain pieces of the overall project need to come first to open up space for the next phase.” The committee’s theme is, “St. Ansgar Schools: Strong Traditions, Bright Futures.”
Besides meeting and planning, the committee is also committed to having open communication with the Board of Education and our various communities as we move through this process. In terms of funding, the committee will be working with the idea that approved phases will be funded through private donations, the St. Ansgar School District, grants, and of course sweat equity (volunteerism). The committee will use various media outlets and School Board presentations/minutes to keep the progress and planning updates accessible to all of our patrons. Our current committee wants to make it perfectly clear that funding for these projects does not come out of our School District’s General Fund, which is the chief operating fund for the schools, but rather, and financial commitment from the District will come from the PPEL Fund/Capital Projects Fund which is designated for bricks and mortar type projects.
Principal Scott Dryer added, “It was time for this committee to organize again. Although our activities and physical education classes have not missed a beat with our current facilities, our complex is getting to the point where updates are needed. Improving areas like our stage, the separation of our football and baseball fields, lighting, and fencing are just some of the items that will really improve our facilities. It is also important to note that our administration and Board are also working on updates within our buildings and classrooms as well; however, this committee has taken the charge of our outdoor facilities, stage, and weight room areas. It is exciting to be working on this project phase by phase, all the while knowing that when we are done the end result will touch students and community members in multiple activities. Our kids are very much deserving of having facilities that match the pride and support we have in our communities and school.”