Newspaper Article Archive of
Highland School District
To kick off the public hearing over the future of the former Ainsworth Elementary School and ball fields, Superintendent Mike Jorgensen and Highland School Board President Kevin Engel each read statements. One prepared and one an email from a community member.
Jorgensen went first, reading a statement he had prepared.
“Every district that I have ever been at, the cities and the schools have always had good, strong partnerships,” he said, something he believes these discussions have helped facilitate.
Jorgensen said he was very happy with the way the work between the city and the school has gone and stated his belief that the future plans for the building were the right ones. The city has a desire to turn the building into a library and the possibility of moving city hall into the building.
“These are all very positive things for the use of the building. It’s a large reason why I have made the recommendation that I have for the board to accept this bid,” Jorgensen said.
Of great importance to Jorgensen was that the building will be able to be used by the school as a safe place for kids to wait for buses in inclement weather. The stipulation was included in the contract.
Engel then stood to read an email he had received from Mike Roberts, who acknowledged the difficult decisions the board has had to make over the past months. Roberts saw the sale as the proper culmination of these tough choices.
“Now it is time to do the right thing to complete this step. The school has been part of the Ainsworth community for well over 100 years. In my opinion, the right thing for the board to do is to approve the bids from the city of Ainsworth,” the email said.
No other comments were made by the public. The sale of the building and the ballfields to the city were approved for $1 apiece. The clause also includes a 10-year sunset on the school districts right of refusal if the city were to sell the building.
At the end of it all, the community was thanked for their patience as the process went through the necessary channels with everyone feeling that the building going where it needed to go in the end.
“Thanks to everyone through the whole process,” Engel said.
“There was some communication that was hard to get, but in the end I feel that we got to where we needed to get to.”