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Deerwood Avenue building will serve as new WDC bus garage

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A new bus garage facility was the main subject of discussion Monday night at the August meeting of the Wadena-Deer Creek school board.

The board approved the conversion of a district-owned storage facility on Deerwood Avenue to a bus garage by Mark Stone Construction. Once completed, the storage facility will be insulated and heated and will provide an office for transportation director Tim Wohlert. Buses will be washed and serviced at the facility. The cost of remodeling will be in the neighborhood of $120,000.

The school will employ a fleet of 20 buses in the coming school year. Five of the buses were spared damage from the June 17 tornado. Seven more were repaired. Eight were leased in July from Hoglund Bus and Truck of Monticello, Minn.

While some of WDC's bus fleet will be stored indoors at the Deer Creek school facility and in the converted storage garage, the district will still have to find storage space for approximately one dozen buses. The district has had an agreement to store buses at the Wadena County fairgrounds but those storage facilities were destroyed in the June 17 tornado. The fair board may be able to offer the district a lease on a storage facility in the future as it replaces a portion of the buildings that were lost in the tornado.

A two-year lease for the use of school facilities at St. Ann's Church in Wadena was approved. St. Ann's closed their elementary school last spring ending a 107-year relationship with the community.

No settlement has yet been reached with Riverport Insurance Group, the district's insurance carrier. Wadena-Deer Creek superintendent Virginia Dahlstrom said that one of the two lawyers the district has hired, former DFL gubernatorial candidate Mike Hatch, would be meeting with the school's construction manager, Kraus-Anderson, in the ongoing process of making a determination of damage and restitution. Dahlstrom reported in a special board meeting Aug. 2 that more than 90 percent of the high school and district offices building was determined to be a loss.

The district has hired former St. Ann's elementary teacher Shelley Steffens to teach kindergarten in the coming school year. It has also hired elementary teacher Marc Reynolds and business instructor Sandie Cottrell.

The board also approved a bid for General Obligation Air Anticiaption Certificates at 0.6224 percent.