Group seeks to save Round Lake's school
ROUND LAKE — A variety of proposals were discussed regarding what to do with the Round Lake School during an informational meeting Wednesday night at the school.
According to Becky Strandberg, one of the meeting’s organizers, volunteers have already come forward to help with the fitness center and with building maintenance, but more are needed.
“We also need volunteers to help clean the building and to get stuff ready,” Strandberg said. “Even if people donated youth books for the library and day care center, or donate items if we make it a senior center — there are more ways to contribute other than money.”
One proposal for the purchase and use of the building states the first step is the establishment of a Round Lake Community Cooperative. Shares would be sold at $100 each to those interested in being part of the project.
“Unfortunately, people will not see a return on the share because we’ll be using the money for maintenance or if anything happens to the building,” Strandberg said. “But you’d be helping save the school.”
The proposal states the fitness center would continue to operate and a daycare center would be established, as would after-school and summer activities programs.
Certain portions of the building would be available to rent, and efforts would be made to attract businesses that could utilize the greenhouse and shop areas. A library and media center would be established for community use.
According to the proposal, if the building is not purchased and re-purposed, it will be demolished and the property sold. The cost of demolition would go to the school district taxpayers.
“The school board — even though they don’t want to — will have to look at the possibility of destroying the school,” said Wally Boyer, meeting organizer and alumnus of the Round Lake School.
Boyer, who has strong family ties to the school, has experience in managing commercial properties. He is currently managing an estimated $6 million in such properties, and is willing to be a part of the cooperative to help save the school.
“While I don’t have experience in a small town, I do have manager experience,” Boyer explained. “I’m here to put my money in as well and help save the school.”
A few proposed ideas for new uses of the school include making the gymnasium, kitchen and cafeteria available for rent. Uses could include family and class reunions, craft fairs, flea markets, community dinner theater productions, community basketball or volleyball teams, and tournaments.
On the north side of the library, the school would be remodeled into bedrooms. The home economics room would be utilized as kitchen facilities, including three separate kitchens, a laundry room and an area set up as living space for renters.
If the cooperative is created, it also plans to turn a few of the rooms into historical classrooms that would include school memorabilia, a yearbook collection and other items of historical significance.
“We’re open to any ideas,” said Strandberg. “These are just a few of many; we just hope we can re-use the school somehow.”
The 11 acres of farmland behind the school would be actively farmed, and all profits will be returned to the cooperative for operational expenses.
“It’s a win-win situation,” Strandberg said. “We also have an individual who has come forward and said he would be interested in renting out the shop space for usage.”
Before the cooperative is established, Strandberg and Boyer are asking individuals or groups for a commitment to purchase cooperative shares to get the project off the ground.
Once a determination on public support has been made, financials will be put together and presented to the public.
“We’re hoping to make a proposal by Feb. 24,” Strandberg said. “We hope residents of the Round Lake/Brewster School District would be interested in purchasing a share or two and help bring activities and people into town.”
For more information on how to donate, contact Becky Strandberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.