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Paynesville Press - June 27, 2001

Public gets first view of new facility

By Linda Stelling

Rich Hubert and Lou Louis Many area residents had their first opportunity to see the new $3.4 million addition to the Paynesville Area High School on Friday evening. The new auditorium and fitness center were open to the public from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Approximately 300 people toured the new facility. Many took the opportunity to try out the new equipment.

Bob Westvig thought the new facility was very impressive and said it looked top of the line to him. "I'm not much of an arts person, but I can enjoy and appreciate the difference the auditorium will make in a performance," he said.

Rich Hubert and Lou Louis tried out the new treadmills in the cardiovascular room of the new fitness center on Friday evening.

Paul Bugbee said the facility is a good investment for the community. "I have seen some theatre performances and do appreciate fine arts. It may have cost a lot of money, but it's great to have a touch of the arts in Paynesville," he explained.

Linda Liestman drove by the facility daily on her way to work, watching it being built. She never dreamed how exquisite and functional it would be inside, she said after her tour.

Larry Alstead liked what he saw at the dedication and felt the facility was badly needed.

In addition to seeing the new facility, people also got their first chance to hear the acoustics of the new auditorium. A new grand piano was delivered in time for the dedication. Volunteers from the community and students played the piano throughout the evening.

Cindy Zimmerman, who teaches piano lessons, said the auditorium and the new grand piano are a dream come true. She was the first person to perform on the new piano. Cheryl Bungum, school choir director, said $3,000 has been raised for the grand piano this spring by selling notes. They still need $7,000 to pay for the $18,000 instrument.

Taking part in the program were students in the Prelude Singers (pictured below) from the elementary school, the middle school pops choir, the high school choir, the String O' Pearls, and the high school marching band.

"It was exciting to have the students up on stage. I'm looking forward to seeing the full group perform," said Bungum.

Prelude Singers "It's finally happened. It has been many years since the process started. It is hard to believe it actually happened," superintendent Howard Caldwell said during the program, which started at 7 p.m. About 250 people attended the program while others just toured the addition.

Caldwell went on to thank the many people who had a part in making the project become a reality from the task force members to the architectural firm.

Two Paynesville graduates, Troy Miller and Mike Schoenecker, played an intricate part in the project as members of the architectural firm. "Because of the hometown people working on the project, extra effort was shown in creating the ideas and designs," said Bob Struve, president of E&V Consulting, the project's construction managers.

"I knew this would be more difficult coming here to do a project than any other," said Miller, project manager. "I wanted the project to be the best. The team (electrical, mechanical, and civil engineers) spent more than 3,000 hours on the project for 10 months. We are very proud of the project," he added.

Mindy Meagher "Thank you for the opportunity to work with you," an emotional Miller added.

Miller said he was a member of the band in high school and never had the opportunity to perform in a facility like this. "Students will take on a new attitude and responsibility for the auditorium. They will take care and respect the facility," Miller said after the marching band's performance.

School board chairman Pat Flanders related events where equipment broke down, when plays were held in the cafeteria, and how everybody struggled with programs in the gymnasium. The new auditorium will eliminate a lot of conflicts, he added.

Mindy Meagher stands at attention with her flag while the marching band performs on the stage.

During the program Struve said Caldwell was a great asset to the project, serving as a sidewalk inspector, voicing concerns, and keeping the channels open between the teams working on the project.

Task force members were recognized at the dedication: Dan Andersen, Cheryl Bungum, Howard Caldwell, Matt Dickhausen, Pat Flanders, Bob Gardner, Debora Glenz, Deb Gillman, Mike Jacobson, John Janotta, Dale Lorenz, Bev Mueller, Gretchen O'Fallon, Dick Realdsen, Gary Roberg, Brad Skoglund, Joyce Spaulding, Lew Storkamp, and Ken Vork.

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