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Paynesville Press - August 31, 2005

Community Education moves into new office

By Michael Jacobson

As children head back to school, and to new classrooms this week, they won't be the only ones having to find new rooms. People looking to register for Community Education programs will need to head to a new location, as the Paynesville Area Community Education office moved this summer.

Community Education moved in the first week of July from their old location in the space adjoining the Paynesville Area High School office to the former middle school office.

The easiest way to get to their new office is to park in the middle school parking lot and use the main entrance to the middle school. Then take a left in the lobby and another left to the middle school office, which is now the Community Education office.

right Community Education was asked to move due to a reshuffling of office space. Their new office is newer, has more space, and is more user friendly, with room for sign-up sheets on counter and walls, said director Matt Dickhausen. After being in their new office, their old office seemed small, he added. "I think it'll work out good," he said.

But, he hopes people will not be confused and go to their old office, instead of their new location. This could be particularly frustrating for people who have to park twice and get of their cars twice, he said.

There is a new sign outside the new Community Education office, plus signs on the high school doors directing people - who might be unfamiliar with the interior halls at the school - to drive to the new Community Education office.

While people can register for Community Education programs by phone and by mail, "we still have a decent amount of foot traffic," said Dickhausen.

They also get a lot of foot traffic for their Walking Club, which allows area residents to walk the school halls from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Walking Club members must wear a badge that they pick up and drop off at the Community Education office.

The new office, said Dickhausen, has more room for coats, etc., for Walking Club members.

While visitors to Community Education are urged to park in the middle school lot, they should be aware that the school buses drop off secondary school students in front of the middle school from 7:45 to 8 a.m. in the mornings and from 3 to 3:15 p.m. in the afternoons.

Community Education has the same phone number, 320-243-7570, but the athletic department - since athletic coordinator Kyle Nehowig stayed in the high school office - has a new number - 320-243-3715.

Community Education still works with athletics on facility scheduling, which Dickhausen does, and sharing the activities line, which Nehowig will now handle. The activity line is still 320-243-4058, and it will continue to have a full listing of the day's athletic activities, plus up-to-date cancellations of games, practices, and Community Education classes due to bad weather.

The number for the former middle school office - 320-243-3724 - now rings at the secondary school office, as the high school office has become. Paraprofessionals will staff the former middle school office from 7:45 to 8:25 a.m. in the mornings and from 2:45 to 3:15 p.m. in the afternoons for student needs, otherwise they will need to go to the secondary school office.

Former middle school secretary Linda Mayer is now the secretary at Paynesville Area Elementary School.

The school board has indicated that it wants to have the new office arrangement evaluated during this school year.

The only unknown with the Community Education office is coverage over lunch. It may have to close when Dickhausen mans the fitness center over the noonhour and Community Education secretary Sandy Carstens takes lunch.

While Community Education programs are most popular among elementary students, Community Education does have more middle school students in its programs than high school students. In that sense, the Community Education office is now closer to more of its clients.

"I think it'll be good to connect with these middle school students," said Dickhausen.

Community Education tried to be team players by agreeing to this office move, said Dickhausen, and they hope to minimize confusion over their new location.

Dickhausen hopes they won't have to move again anytime soon."We were asked to come down here, and we did," he said. "It'd be nice to stay."

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