A yes vote on school will help New Hampton grow
I am writing to express my full support to the New Hampton School Board and School District for the expansion of a new grades 5-8 school to be built at the current high school location.Why do I support such a monumental project?Our family has been in business since 1945, which I am proud to say, I am a third generation business owner of New Hampton Metal Fab.As a Chickasaw County resident and commercial property tax payer, I have an interest in growing our community.I believe our community has three core pillars. The first pillar is our schools. The second pillar is our health care and the third pillar our faith community or churches. We must have all three to have a vibrant, progressive Community in which to live in. If one of these three fall or fail, what do we have for a community?So many times I hear from residents in our community; “we must pay it forward” or “the generations before us had vision to build schools, health facilities and churches, now it’s our turn to do the same.” Now is the time to have that same vision and I ask the Community to support a YES vote coming before us to build a new school.I am also our Economic Development Board president, which I have served on for the last three years. I have been involved with monthly board meetings, advisory meetings to help existing businesses expand along with new businesses opening up. Believe it New Hampton, WE ARE growing!Our board has been and is actively pursuing businesses to consider New Hampton as their new home. To name a few, we have visited with the leadership groups of Theisen’s and HyVee Foods. We have asked Theisen’s to expand their store and encouraged HyVee to build a new store in the New Hampton xommunity. Their answer back to us; “They are serious about having a New Hampton presence but only if New Hampton is serious about being a progressive community.” They have both indicated that they would like to see our school project voted through, which would tell them that our community is a growing and progressive community. As a business owner myself, I agree with them 100 percent!Is this project perfect? My answer in short is, no.Moving all grades to the existing high school grounds would be my preference, respectfully. However, the voters have spoken twice. Once back in 2000 and again in 2014. The 2014 vote included moving all grades for $29 million. Today, we have cut out one-third of the cost and would only move grades, 5-8 for $19 million.So what is the next step?Since early this year, we have formed a small group of individuals to see what can be done to move the community towards a new school. With the direction and leadership of our Superintendent, Jay Jurrens, a Facilities Committee of approximately 40 was formed.We have had several meetings with a diverse group made up of; residents young and old, students, business owners and teachers all from the New Hampton Community School District.We’ve discussed at length, what the voting district would want to see for a new school. We’ve looked at past plans that were presented back in 2014, toured the downtown facility multiple times and visited the new Charles City School to see what their community had built.For many of us parents having student-athletes, we have been in most if not all the schools that are in our conference and some that are not. We discussed what we liked/disliked about those schools.We discussed hallways/corridors, food service, large teaching areas, vocational agriculture-iIndustrial technology center, a new gymnasium to serve as both a middle school PE gym along with holding high school athletic and performing arts events. We discussed in length the size of classrooms needed. Also, we discussed making sure the middle school and high school are divided for kid’s safety but having commons areas so the facilities can be best shared and utilized.The present plan which is now in circulation will be proudly displayed in many parts of our school district. It will show what our Facilities Committee came up with and presented to the New Hampton School Board.Our committee directed the Facilities Cost Management Group on how we believe the project would best serve our kid’s and community!Please know there is NO fluff in the plan presented.We need to be fiscally responsible and understand that we are all in this together. We have to shop locally when we can, help our existing businesses expand, entice new businesses to locate here, entice existing and new residents to build new homes all to keep our property taxes low and to maintain, if not grow, our property values.What happens if we choose to do nothing? Why would new and existing families choose New Hampton as a place to live and call home? Why would an existing business want to expand here? Why would a new business want to choose New Hampton as a place to locate?If we are teetering on zero enrollment growth, we don’t throw in the towel and say we’re done or that it’s over or that New Hampton is dying or is dead. NO!!! Our Community rises to the challenge and we grow our Community together!Lastly I want to point out something that is very interesting to me and should be to everyone in the New Hampton Community School District. I have spoken to quite a few graduating seniors from the last couple of years to present.Those students have indicated that after they finish their high school education and after attending a two- or four- year colleges, they would like to move back to the New Hampton School District to raise a family.We need these young future citizens to call New Hampton their home and raise a family! They are our future generation! They are our future entrepreneurs, employees, buyers of goods and services and of course, tax payers! They are OUR future for increased enrollment!!!As a graduate from the New Hampton High School and parent, there are not enough words to describe the joy in hearing that young adults are considering coming back to our community. We must be doing something right.Our local businesses, inustries, school faculty and parents have been working hard to engage our young students through job shadowing, facility tours and employment. We all should be proud of our community and what we can all achieve together.I urge you to come to the upcoming meetings that will be held and urge all New Hampton School District voters to support this new school.