Paynesville Press - April 16, 2003

Questions & Answers

Highway to affect schools

By Superintendent Howard Caldwell

Will the Highway 23 reconstruction, relocation, and/or upgrade affect the school district?
There are several route proposals that have been presented for the community to review and consider. Two of these proposals show the route going adjacent to school district property. Both of these routes could impact the middle/high school site. The elementary school is not currently directly impacted.

One route is proposed to go on the current Highway 23 location and on the west side of the middle/high school property. Another proposed route is suggested to go on the south side of the middle/high school site, between the school district property and Koronis Hills Golf Course.

The direct impact of either of these proposals is unknown at this time. It does appear, however, that the proximity of this busy highway could cause a serious safety hazard for our children that are attending and/or using the middle/high school site.

It could also pose an interesting situation for accessibility to our middle/high school facilities for all of our community residents. If a four-lane highway goes adjacent to our school site, we would probably have limited access onto the highway. Any home or business, located on the opposite side of the highway from the school, would pose a more difficult situation for anyone desiring to utilize their reciprocal services.

Which Highway 23 option would you say might be best to meet the needs of the Paynesville Area Schools?
I know that this is somewhat of a controversial issue with some of our district residents, so it is difficult to speak freely without possibly stepping on someone's toes. I realize the importance of the current location of Highway 23 and the availability that it provides for some of its travelers and their access to some of our local businesses.

I do believe, however, that the safety and availability of our school's services are critical. If a four-lane highway would go adjacent to our schools, it would not be in the best interest of our students and community residents.

I believe one of the other alternatives would be more advisable. Which alternative would be best, I don't know for sure, but I do believe that it would be best not to have a major highway divide our community as it would create difficult situations for access to services within our community.

Questions about School District #741 can be directed to Caldwell at or by calling the district office at 320-243-3410. Or questions can be submitted to the Press office by e-mail at, by fax at 320-243-4492 or phone at 320-243-3772 and they will be forwarded to him.

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