In their Tuesday Talk e-newsletter, the Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Board of Directors proclaims their support for a new high school. A bond referendum will be voted on in the school district on November 5, 2019.

In a blog included in the newsletter, several "Business Talking Points" are produced by the chamber and authored by president Brad Meier, answering the question, "Why are employers investing in a new school?" Among the points, "We are competing with three regional centers for employees. Job seekers are weighing their options. Attracting talented people to Owatonna is more than offering them great employment opportunities. They are looking for a high-quality healthcare system, first-class educational system, and quality of life amenities."

He goes on to state, "Private business contributions to this project provide a savings of $1,200-$1,500 to the average taxpayer over the life of the bond."

Posing the question, "Why do facilities matter?" the blog says, "Quality facilities are part of a quality educational system. Quality facilities give every teacher and every student the best opportunity to teach, learn, provide hands-on experiences, and prepare learners for the future."

It goes on to say, "There is an importance to this vote on the high school bond referendum that reaches far beyond the present day. We can point to key investments over the years that have propelled Owatonna and the surrounding area forward to more development, larger population, and higher quality of life."

The blog cites the city's purchase of the West Hills area. Meier writes, "This investment in the 1970's has now provided opportunity for 40 companies to locate and grow in the industrial park that was part of the West Hills campus." He adds about the healthcare campus on 26th Street, "Mayo Clinic Health System-Owatonna and the Owatonna Hospital-part of Allina Health have created a regional health care facility with their investment in facilities."

The Owatonna chamber will host a series of school bond informational meetings. Dates include October 1 from 7:30 to 9 am, October 15 from 12 to 1:30 pm, and October 29 from 5 to 6:30 pm.

In related news, the Owatonna School District is hosting a series of "Coffee and Conversations with Superintendent (Jeff) Elstad." The gatherings are open to the public with no formal presentation. People may come and go as they choose. Check out the schedule. Elstad will also be the guest of the Exchange Club of Steele County for their meeting on Friday, September 20 at Valleyview Assisted Living in Owatonna. The meeting begins at 7 am and Elstad will speak at 7:30 am. The meeting is open to all.