Column: From the Desk: By Jerry Ness

The LTFC met six times, starting in September 2017.  The LTFC is comprised of community members, staff, administration and school board members. The Committee toured and reviewed information related to all of the District’s facilities and enrollment data.  After discussing many options, the LTFC agreed that the District should focus on updating and utilizing the District’s existing facilities to their fullest potential prior to referendum for a new elementary building in 2027. 

Phase I – The first phase would include remodeling the Heritage Building (old Pamida building) for early childhood and updating Roosevelt Education Center (REC) for additional classrooms. Why Heritage? There is room for expansion at Heritage. The ability to work with child-care providers would be available. The parking at Heritage is an asset. The building can be remodeled for early childhood needs.

Update Roosevelt Education Center’s (REC) Media Center entrance/door to enhance security; the vocational wing hallways, the ALC hallways, bathrooms and classrooms and the REC Gym, roof, locker rooms, and bathrooms.

Phase II – Expand to REC for additional classes for the secondary as needed. The plan would include remodeling the Media Center and mechanical shop area for additional classrooms.

Phase III – This plan would encourage the School Board to acquire land prior to the bond referendum election in anticipation of building an elementary building replacing the 1937 Adams and McKinley Schools. The new elementary building may include preschool. The bonds for the Kennedy Secondary School remodeling that passed in 2007 expires in 2027.  This would allow a new building with little or no tax increase.

Auto Contest

Last week, Auto Instructor Joel Heikes took three top auto students to M State-Moorhead to compete in a automotive skills competition. Our students performed very well (out of 24 students and 10 other school districts, we placed in the top ten). Dustin Norgren took first place, Jaden Blondeau placed third, and Nolan Booth finished seventh. They were all very excited with their success and happy with their prizes – which were tools that were donated. Dustin’s prize was valued around $350. Congratulations to the students and Mr. Heikes for representing our school!

State bound

Our winter sports teams have had a very successful seasons.  Congratulations to Mayson Jensen and Camryn Appert, who will be heading to state in gymnastics! Also congratulations to the Otter Team for receiving the Gold Academic Award for a 3.91 GPA and first-year head coach Satera Harlow for being named Section 8A Coach of the Year. Also, congratulations to additional state participants: Swimmers – Tyler Hansen, Will Pajari, Will Prody, and Tristan Trosvig; Divers – Caleb Neubauer and Evan Erlandson; and Wrestling – Dustin Portales. Congratulations to Will Prody for receiving the All-State Academic Award!

We have also been treated to some great basketball over the last couple of weeks. The Otter girls’ team lost a heartbreaker to Alexandria in the Section Finals.  Congratulations to the team on a great season and Coach Strand for winning more than 500 career games! Congratulations to Katelyn Strand and Sydney Albertson for earning academic all-state and to the team for receiving the Gold Academic Award. Congratulations to Katelyn Strand for being selected to the Class 3A All-State Team!  She will also play in the All-Star series on April 7.

The boys’ basketball team is also competing in the section finals. They will play Sauk Rapids-Rice at 7 pm on Thursday, March 15, at Alexandria Area High School.  Congratulations to the entire team for earning the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association Team Academic Section Championship and to Nathan Rund for becoming the all-time leading scorer for boys’ basketball!   

Full day of school

on March 22

Just a quick reminder that students will have a full day of school on March 22. This was originally scheduled as an early out, but was changed to a full day of school last October.

Jerry Ness is the Fergus Falls School District superintendent.

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