WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 03, 2011, 08:43 AM

High school in need of several repairs looks to the community for support

Pelican Rapids, Minn. (WDAY TV) - With parts of the school more than 80-years old, Pelican Rapids High School is once again in need of several repairs. They are repairs that could reach a cost of up to five-million dollars, but after a bond referendum for a new school was shot down in 2005, school officials are now asking for the communities help in generating ideas.

It was built in 1928. Now after 83 years, school officials are hoping the Fine Arts Auditorium is just one of several upgrades the public will support.

DEB WANEK - Pelican Rapids Superintendent: “There are other concerns; we have a heating system that is very old, very old. With winters like we have, we don't want to come someday and the boilers don't work. There are parts that you can't even make for the boilers we have now.”

Just two years ago, Viking Elementary School upgraded its boiler room. More efficient, less costly, and much smaller than the one the high schools had in place for almost 40 years.

TREVOR STEEVES - School Maintenance Director: “We always equate it to driving a school bus to go get the groceries or pick up one kid. It's not efficient anymore.”

For Pelican Rapids school officials, it's not about building a new high school; it's about sustaining the old one. Like expanding on a crowded gym foyer so it can house a commons or a cafeteria.

TREVOR STEEVES - School Maintenance Director: “Really the main part of our building is feasible; we just have to make it more sustainable for the future.”

So the school has decided to create a task force. Superintendent Wanek hopes to get at least 40 participants from all different backgrounds.

DEB WANEK - Pelican Rapids Superintendent: “Really what we want to do is we want to say these are our concerns and these are issues we need to address. And we're hoping with that collective dialogue and the intelligence together we'll come up with some very creative solutions for us.”

The task force will meet four-to-six times this summer, and hopefully have a recommendation ready by August. If you are from the Pelican Rapids area, and would like to be a part of the task force, you are asked to call the school.