City officials and school board discuss wellness center options

Options for collaboration on the planned Wadena wellness center were discussed at a joint Monday evening meeting of the Wadena City Council and the Wadena-Deer Creek School Board.

The Wadena City Council and Wadena-Deer Creek School Board held a joint meeting Monday evening to discuss collaboration on the future wellness center. From left, School Board Member Ann Pate, Council Member Don Niles, School Board member Wayne Perkins and School Board Member Peter Hayes. Photo by Rachelle Klemme

Options for collaboration on the planned Wadena wellness center were discussed at a joint Monday evening meeting of the Wadena City Council and the Wadena-Deer Creek School Board.

Wadena Mayor Wayne Wolden said the city is very close to purchasing land from Leaf River Ag's old location, which is close to the middle/high school.

School Board Chair Steve Techam and Board Members Dan Toedter and Wayne Perkins said the school is interested in purchasing unneeded land from the site to possibly be used for bus garage space, parking space and class space for shop and automotive education.

City officials asked if the school would be willing to help if the tentatively planned three-lane lap pool would change to six lanes, making the school eligible to host a swim team.

School Board Member Ann Pate said the request is a catch-22: While an expanded pool presented opportunities, the school would have to deal with its own budgets for years down the road.


Perkins said they cannot give a dollar figure and commit to around 30 years of efforts, especially if they might need to deal with cuts in the future.

Wolden said Wadena Memorial Auditorium is a good example of a long-term commitment between the school and the city that worked out.

City Administrator Brad Swenson also asked - regardless of whether they would contribute financially - whether the school would allow for a walkway or skyway to connect the buildings.

No official motions were made regarding the walkway.

Pate said the upcoming wellness center, along with the already built ice arena, were good assets to the community.

Toedter said having an exercise and recreational facility near the school would be a good idea for kids to need to get out of the house more.

Wolden said he would like to see every 5-12 student be a member of the upcoming wellness center.

Previously discussed options for the wellness center were also brought up during the council meeting.


Swenson said it would cost around $400,000 to change a tentatively planned three-lane lap section of the pool to six lanes, not including possible changes to the size of the building itself to accommodate the extra lanes.

Jeff Browne of the Wadena Wellness Center Fundraising Committee said a major donor, the Maslowski Foundation, was interested in a six-lane pool, but would not make funding contingent on that.

Another option involved adding a second gym, and Swenson said it would be a $1.2-1.5 million increase, based on information from architects.

"There's been talk about creating a reserve fund for operating costs," Swenson said.

Swenson also said the overall building was planned to be about 50,000 square feet, but that would change.

Environmental standards were also brought up. The wellness center is to be constructed with B3 standards, but unlike the school, is not pursuing LEED certification at this time.

Wolden said there are different sets of documentation between B3 and LEED, and Dahlstrom said LEED involves costly paperwork.

Swenson said a mid-March to June 2014 opening is anticipated.

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