Waseca schools consolidation brings the district together

/ 8 June 2012 / jennifer

Marianne Carlson, Waseca County News, June 8, 2012 –

WASECA – As the students walked out the doors reveling in the joy of the last day of school on Friday, June 1, the teachers in the Waseca School District had to postpone their celebration for an extra two days.

Many of the teachers in the district have been packing their entire rooms into boxes due to the district school building consolidation.

Several months ago the Waseca School Board made the decision to sell the Southside Education Center building. Waseca School District Superintendent Brian Dietz said they are currently working with their attorney to get an appraisal of the building.

“We are finalizing the process through our attorney and at this point in time, no one has expressed genuine interest in the building,” Dietz said.

The Waseca School District is going from five buildings to four and as a result they are consolidating more grades into existing buildings as a way to save money and improve curriculum within the district. They estimate that the consolidation will save the district approximately $300,000 per year.

The fourth, fifth and sixth grade students are leaving the Central Intermediate School building and moving into the old junior high building which has been renamed Waseca Intermediate School (WIS).

The seventh and eighth graders will move over to the high school building that will now offer a seven through 12 curriculum.

Central Intermediate School will retain the name “Central” building in order to preserve the rich history of that building. Early Childhood Education including Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE), Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) and preschool are already located at the Central building, but now they will be joined by Waseca Alternative Learning Center (WALC) and Waseca County Off Campus (WCOC). All of the district services will also be located at the Central building including the district office, Special Education, Maintenance and Operations, Community Education as well as other services.

According to Dietz, an outside community partner plans to rent some space in the building and there will also be additional space available for training, meeting, etc.

Teachers in the district spent most of Monday finishing up their packing and Tuesday they moved everything. Dietz said getting to the point of actually moving took a lot of planning.

At the school board meeting on Thursday, June 7 Dietz commended John Stenzel for all of his hard work planning and coordinating this event. He also thanked all of the teachers for their effort. According to Dietz, the teachers from Hartley Elementary School helped the fourth, fifth and sixth grade teachers move and the high school teachers helped the junior high teachers move.

Fifth grade teacher Pam Kimball said the whole thing was like “a well-oiled machine.”

Dietz said his favorite part was seeing everyone working together in what he called a “conveyor belt line of people” continuously unloading boxes.

“I couldn’t believe how fast the entire process went,” Dietz said. “Everyone worked really hard in order to make it go that smoothly.”

Although most of the boxes have been transported to the proper buildings many of the teachers can not moved into their room immediately. Some need to have the carpets cleaned and other are being used for different community programs like Camp Cool.

During the school board meeting, Dietz thanked everyone that had a part in the overall process. He said that several people from outside the district donated their time and vehicles to help with the move.

Marianne Carlson covers education and law enforcement for the Waseca County News. Please call her at 507-837-5451.