On November 5 Owatonna School District voters approved the plan for a new high school with 56-percent voting in favor of the new facility. The school board will begin to move forward with a special meeting on Tuesday, November 12 at the district office at 515 W. Bridge Street.

The board will canvass the votes from the special election which consisted of two questions. The first will authorize general obligation building bonds not to exceed 112-million-dollars to construct a new school. Voters approved the measure 6,311-5,107. That is 55.71 percent in favor and 44.28 percent against.

The second question will allow for bonds of up to eight-million-dollars to repurpose the current high school for school district use. That vote was 5,756-5,420 in favor, or 51.5 percent to 48.49 percent.

After canvassing the votes, the board will hold a work session with Wold Architects and Engineers and school district administration to review the next steps. The work session should start at 5:45 pm according to the school district's website.

In a press release from the district on the evening of the passage, it was stated, "The district will soon begin plans and timelines for designing and building the new school, which will likely open in fall 2023. Once that process is underway, the district will analyze options for utilizing parts of the existing high school for both district and community use, including gathering community input."

Superintendent Jeff Elstad said in that news release, "We are incredibly grateful to our community for this double vote of confidence. The new high school and the repurposed existing high school will benefit our entire community, not just our students. Today we are truly Owatonna Proud."

The news release offers some highlights of the new high school.

  • 300,000 square-foot facility to handle up to 1,600 students
  • 70 classrooms, labs, and shops fitted with modern technology
  • 900-seat auditorium with improved music area
  • flexibility to allow for future changes in technology
  • a versatile media center
  • main and auxiliary gym that provides four courts
  • energy-efficient mechanical and electric systems
  • up-to-date career education space with modern vocational industrial equipment
  • climate control for both summer and winter conditions
  • larger lunch room space
  • on-site parking to accommodate students, staff, and events

The new building will be constructed near Highway 14 and Highway 218 in southern Owatonna. Federated Insurance will purchase the 88 acres and donate in to the school district. Other businesses that have pledged donations to the project include Mayo Clinic Health System-Owatonna, Viracon, Wenger Corporation and Wenger Foundation.