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Sealing the deal: Freshwater Education's new building is nearly enclosed

Workers boom sheets of plywood to the roof of the Freshwater Education building Monday in Wadena. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal1 / 5
The new Fresh Water Education building will be located on the southern edge of Wadena. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal2 / 5
Workers assemble at the top of the current Freshwater Education District building Monday, Jan. 14 in Wadena. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal3 / 5
An artist rendering of the Freshwater Education District's new facility shows a space for administrative staff and student teaching. Image courtesy of Nor-Son and BHH Partners4 / 5
Workers install roof sheeting on the top of the Freshwater Education District building Monday, Jan. 14 in Wadena. Temperatures in the mid 20s allowed for comfortable working conditions. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal5 / 5

Driving into Wadena on Hwy 71 is an opportunity to peer out the window and enjoy the scenic beauty of a small town coated with ice and snow. On that drive, one can also see a structure emerging from the snow capped hills on the southern edge of town. That structure is the new Freshwater Education facility.

Located in a somewhat remote location devoid of distractions and the noise of town, is the place where students will take their education to the next level. The building is designed from the ground up to be a conducive place for learning, especially for children with behavioral, sensory, and focus problems.

Jena Osberg, Level IV site facilitator for Freshwater Education, discussed the new building and its many features that will assist children with a wide range of learning styles. From windows to the choice of decor, everything is designed to help students focus all of their energy on learning. The layout of the new building was devised so students would have an array of choices for study locations, all of which cater to individuals that often find a traditional school environment too distracting. The building is also equipped with a variety of amenities that will make organizing events easier and give students the chance for more hands-on skill building.

According to Osberg, her old facility has been good, but is showing its age. She also noted that Freshwater doesn't own the former Deer Creek School, where they are currently located, so plans for expansion have always been bleak. The new building opens a wealth of learning opportunities and a chance for staff to come together.

Currently Freshwater staff members are spread throughout the region. Osberg is very excited to have the opportunity to bring together so many great educators under one roof. "I've seen what works very well and I've made that move with us," Osberg said.

The exact location was heavily deliberated upon. Educators wanted a facility in a remote location so they could remove any and all distractions for students. They also wanted the building to be centrally located so students could easily access the new building and all that it offers. After visiting 18 possible sites for the new building, administration chose a plot of land on the southwestern part of wadena, just beyond the industrial park. When asked why Wadena and this location, Executive Director, Jerry Nesland, said "It's the crosshairs of our membership." Nesland went on to praise the City of Wadena and how the town really has been a great home for the organization.

When asked about the building process, Nesland commented that the construction is around 60 percent complete. Within the coming days the building will be fully enclosed, allowing construction crews to bring in temporary heat while they begin work on the interior. The tentative plan is to be inside working by February after doorways are added and everything is sealed. If all goes well, the $6 million dollar building should be ready to open in July 2019.