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Library waits in the wings for possible property

Count the New Richmond Library Board as a group disappointed by the unsuccessful April 5 school referendum vote.

The library is waiting in the wings to see what happens to the school district's middle school building and property.

Library officials would like to acquire the school building and land for a future library facility. The library had considered building a new facility on its present site, but concerns about a lack of parking and not wanting to eat away the city park steered the group away from that option.

The Library Board discussed the issue at length at their meeting last week. It appears they're willing to wait and see what happens with the district's next referendum attempt.

"We're still playing a waiting game," Library Director Scott Vrieze said. "We would like to hear from the School Board and do some planning for the future, if and when they pass a referendum."

The hope is that the Middle School site would eventually develop into a community center concept, with a library, senior center and meeting space available.

"That's our dream," Vrieze said.


Rachel Sauvola (Zabel) will be one of nine Twin Cities area teachers featured on Fox 9 news Thursday, May 12, from 9 to 10 p.m.

Sauvola received the special honor in a ceremony in late March. News achor Robyne Robinson was on hand to present the award.

In an email, Sauvola said the news report will apparently be pretty extensive.

"When Robyne Robinson and her cameraman were here they were really impressed with the students and the staff that they had the opportunity to meet. Consequently, they took extra footage here and were really excited to use a lot of that during this program. We'll see!"


To bring more harmony to the New Richmond School Board, the district is exploring a team-building process for the near future.

The board is considering the use of Sarah Bridges, a team-building consultant. The goal of the effort would be to increase the organizational effectiveness of the board. The consultant would help coach the board members in better ways of interacting.

Board member Deanna Cook-Shannon said she hopes the consultant will help everyone deal with conflict in a healthy way, not that every board member has to agree on every issue.

Board member Judy Remington said the district administrators should also be a part of the team-building exercise.

Observing the way the board operates at times, outside help seems appropriate despite the high cost associated with the plan.

The district faces some pretty weighty issues over the next five years, and board members can't afford the appearance that they are at each other's throats.


One lost educational opportunity that's resulted from the space crunch in the New Richmond School District has been the closing of West Elementary's "smart room."

Because the space was needed for a classroom, the smart room was shut down last year. When it was functioning, the room provided space for teachers to work with hyperactive kids and students with low motivation to help them achieve more academically.

The room was patterned after current brain research, but now teachers have no special place to use that knowledge to help kids.


Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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