Building a district
(Editor's note: this is the fifth in a series of articles about the history of schooling in the Wadena area.) My earlier article brought us up to 1927. I would first like to mention the series of building projects resulting in our fine present da...
(Editor's note: this is the fifth in a series of articles about the history of schooling in the Wadena area.)
My earlier article brought us up to 1927.
I would first like to mention the series of building projects resulting in our fine present day system.
Not much was done in the building line until 1934 when in July of that year the school board voted to purchase land for construction of a Memorial Auditorium and gymnasium. You will recall that back in 1917 several neighboring teams refused to play in Wadena's high school gym because it was termed a cracker box with about a 12-foot ceiling. I mention this because the auditorium became such an integral part of the school system. In January 1934, the Wadena City Council with the aid of the American Legion Post 171 approached the Civilian Works Administration asking them to prepare preliminary plans for the auditorium.
In March an architect named W. A. Backstrom submitted plans for an auditorium and gymnasium calling for a public library, rooms for the American Legion and Auxiliary, a public comfort station along with seating for 1,000 people and a stage running full width giving adequate floor space for a gymnasium, auto shows etc. The stage would seat an additional 1,000 people on removable bleachers.
In May 1934, after receiving school board approval to transfer school property to the village, the city council approved resolutions to erect and maintain a gymnasium and auditorium to be known as Memorial Auditorium, to honor veterans and service men of the United States, at a cost not to exceed $65,000 and to issue bonds at interest not to exceed 4 1/4 percent. This was to be erected on school property adjoining the school.
It is of great interest that in 1995 the village sold the auditorium back to the school district by a plan devised by school superintendent Larry Foley, which allowed for bonding through the school and enabled the school to proceed with an approximate $1,000,000 renovation which I am sure everyone agrees created a beautiful and praiseworthy building. It was a tremendous renovation project.
The next large project began in 1948 which involved the purchase of homes on the west side of 3rd Street SW to house a new elementary building. The cost of the land was $7,500 and the building $175,000. This was completed for a September 1950 opening.
In January 1953, the board purchased the J. L. Kvamme home for $7,250 on the corner of Colfax and 3rd Street SW and later that year the homes of Roy Garr, on Highway 29 west, and Mary Blair and Dr. John Grogan on Fourth Street SW. With acquisition of this land the people voted to issue bonds for $550,000 to build what is now the Elementary School paralleling Highway 29. Third Street SW between Colfax and Dayton was vacated at this time.
In 1963, a resolution by the board to build a new senior high school, on land purchased from the Northern Pacific Railroad and known as the old Mauer farm, passed, after numerous tries, by a vote of 640 to 463. The land cost $25,000 and the building $1,145,000.
In 1992, bids were opened for an elementary addition. In June 1992, the old 1909 school was demolished and replaced with our present school. In February 1993, a dedication for both projects was held.
In 1994, a referendum was held for the consolidation of Deer Creek and Wadena public schools and passed by a vote of 448 to 35.