By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

School holds dedication ceremony

 

December 7, 2017

Lois E. Johnson

Superintendent Bob Indihar, center, holds the plaque that was presented from ARI and Boldt Construction at the dedication ceremony on Saturday. From left: Katie Hildenbrand of ARI, Senator Tony Lourey, Indihar, Shelly Peterson of Boldt Construction, Pat Larson, lobbyist, and Representative Mike Sundin.

School officials, legislative representatives, county commissioners and representatives of Architectural Resources Inc. (ARI) and Boldt Construction, as well as staff and other contributors, and community members came to the new Moose Lake Community School on Saturday, December 2, for tours, dinner and a dedication ceremony.

Kris Lyons, who had been the chairperson of the Moose Lake School Board when the project began, spoke about the 2012 flood that eventually brought about the new school.

"In June 2012, when the floodwaters were rising, I went to the elementary school to see what the flood was doing. I opened the door to the elementary and saw that there was no damage yet. When I came out the door 20 minutes later, the water was up to the door."

She spoke about the special legislation that resulted in the voters passing a referendum and about the construction that began on the new school.

"There are beams in this school that everyone in the community had the opportunity to sign," she said. "Kids that attend this school have their names on those beams.

Sen. Tony Lourey pointed out the role of community members in securing special legislation.

"This wouldn't have happened without community support," he said. "As we were doing the tours to look at the flood damage, one thing really strikes me. As we age, we look at the younger generation, and we worry. We wonder if they are up to the challenge. But we had roving bands of teenagers going around namelessly helping people. I talked to one lady in Barnum. She told me there was a group of eight kids who came to take things from her basement out to the street so the garbage trucks could pick them up. She said she didn't even know their names. Other groups of kids were everywhere, helping out.


"That told me the kids are up to the challenges, and there are going to be many challenges in the future.

"Getting this legislation through was really a fine piece of work. Finally, the legislators said they were getting tired of hearing about Moose lake. They said let's just build Moose Lake a new school. But the Rushford-Peterson School District was out there.

"We put together legislation for any school district that has a disaster. If the insurance doesn't meet their needs, it can apply for this help. I was glad to be a part of this. Thank you and for the vote that passed the referendum afterwards."

Rep. Mike Sundin spoke about the school board's role.

"It took a lot of courage to push this thing through," he said. "I served on a school board and it gets a little tougher when you get close to people's checkbooks.

"It would not have happened without Peg Larson. This community will forever be indebted to her."

Katie Hildenbrand of ARI spoke about its role in designing the school.

"This night is for you to celebrate this amazing accomplishment," she said. "In May 2014, Architectural Resources started the planning process for the new school. Here we are, we did it.

"We spent 17,000 hours on this project. I personally spent 1,800 of them, which equals a day and a half a week for three years. We drove 41,000 miles between Hibbing and Moose Lake for many meetings. This new Moose Lake school marks a new beginning for all that attend."


Shelly Peterson from Boldt Construction spoke about the local people who worked on the building.

"I get the great honor to represent the great men and women who built this building," she said. "Three men and women who helped build this school have eight children enrolled in this school district.

"My favorite is the feature wall that illustrates the young calf and an adult moose. The young calf looks to the adult moose for encouragement and support.

"There were 5,600 yards of concrete poured. That filled 560 trucks. Lined up, those trucks would extend from the end of this school to the front door of the old school. That's quite an accomplishment. I applaud Bob Indihar and the board.

"To commemorate this event, on behalf of ARI and Boldt, I'd like to present Bob Indihar and the board with this beautiful plaque."

Indihar thanked people who contributed to the new school.

"Greg Crowe was the one that came up with the wording for the legislation," he said. "I asked Byron Kuster to head up the 60 percent off campaign. The campaign resulted in an amazing vote in comparison to what had happened in the past.

"Then the planning started. Mary Lindgren, Julie Duesler and Linda Dahlman wrote a grant application for $750,000 for the Early Childhood wing and we received it.

"The custodians stepped up to the plate when our head custodian left two days before school started. I thank them for all they did."

Indihar recognized art instructor Tracy Kill, who applied for a grant for art work in the new school, an unnamed student who also applied for and received a grant for the benches in the high school commons and local photographer Craig Blacklock, who will be supplying photographs in the new school. He also thanked the Coil family for supplying the flag pole in memory of Vernon Coil, a longtime school custodian, and others who gave anonymous donations. He also thanked Brian Johnson of Proctor, who designed and built the podium for the new school from wood in the old school.

He thanked the school board, who he described as the guiding force.

"The board, I felt, was very brave in what they did," he said. "It paid off. Thank you. And I want to thank my lovely wife, Deb, for putting up with me through all of this. It took a lot of hours but it was quite a ride. Thank you, Deb."

Indihar said the time capsule will be closed and stored.

"In 50 years, people will be interested to see the story of the Moose Lake school," he said.

Indihar concluded by thanking the people in the area.

"Thank you," he said. "We could not have done it without you. I just want you to know that you made a difference to the people of Moose Lake."

 

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