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Municipalities ask District to consider building proposal

The New Richmond School Board convened a special meeting Monday night to gather with city, local township and village officials.

An ad-hoc group, unofficially called the Government Entities Network, was formed by Patrick Overton some 18 months ago as part of the New Richmond Area Front Porch Project.

Members of the group include the chairs of the local governing bodies, most of whom were present at Monday's meeting.

The "communications" group meets monthly to discuss issues that affect the region, such as the current Middle School possibly becoming a community library in the future.

That was the reason for the special meeting of the School Board.

Overton presented the Board with a memorandum of understanding, signed by the village of Star Prairie and all the surrounding townships, except for the Town of Richmond.

Overton explained that the Town of Richmond was not opposed to the possibility of turning the Middle School into a regional library, they just had too many questions at this point to sign the memorandum of understanding.

The city has signed a copy of the memorandum, but didn't have the copy at the meeting to present to the School Board.

The memorandum informs the School District of the government entities' intent to create a library system. It requests that the School Board consider transferring ownership of the Middle School to the community for a library once the new school buildings are completed in New Richmond.

Overton said the group is aware that there are many questions to address in the next few months and a formal request would be presented to the Board at a later date.

The memorandum simply requests that the School Board explore the possibility of transferring ownership of the Middle School.

School District Superintendent Morrie Veilleux agreed to add the item to the agenda for the next School Board meeting, which will be Oct. 20.

"We will have it listed as an action item on that agenda," Veilleux said. "That will give the Board time to review the memorandum and publicly discuss it at our next meeting."

Board member Chris Skoglund asked Overton what the response has been from the community to this idea so far.

Several members of the government entities group and Library Director Scott Vrieze confirmed that the feedback they have received has been positive and that people want to see the library remain in the downtown area.

Overton said the group intends to move forward as quickly as they can, recognizing there are still some questions to be answered.