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Wellness center plans authorized

The Wadena City Council approved a motion to authorize Perkins + Will to proceed post-haste with Phase I pertaining to wellness center plans to give to the Legislature, and in a separate motion, authorized them to immediately proceed with Phase II in hopes to break ground in six months.

Phase II is schematic design, Phase III is design development and Phase IV is construction documents and bidding.

"All of that would be completed to begin construction within six months," Steve Miller of Perkins + Will said, adding that Phase II would take approximately two months.

The council discussed co-location options with the new high school, a skyway vs. connecting the buildings, and trying to coordinate with the school board.

"From day one we have continued to design both buildings in a way that they can be joined. It's simply a matter of whether you all agree to join them or not," Miller said.

After the old WDC high school and the community center were both destroyed by the June 17 tornado, community leaders had talked about co-location.

"There's a lot of variables. If the whole building gets built at once, concurrently with the school, I'm not sure that it would all be able to be opened in the fall of 2012," Miller said.

Mayor Wayne Wolden said the wellness center would encourage people to move to or stay in Wadena.

Council member Toby Pierce expressed concern about operating costs.

Another item related to tornado rebuilding was Initiative Foundation funds.

A total of $75,000 had been set aside for the Long Term Recovery Committee to help individuals affected by the tornado.

The council voted to authorized $7,500 to go to the Center for Rural Design from the University of Minnesota to do some master planning for the fairgrounds.

The council also approved $6,000 to go back to the Housing Authority for grant writing for the Small Cities Grant.

Council member Kay Browne said that Mim Maas, representing the Garden Club, had a proposal to create a tornado memorial garden with a master gardener to design it and the possibility of getting bricks from the demolished WDC High School.