by Nathan Warner
Terry, Scott Mounger and Amanda Pederson were three of the nearly 130 people who attended a Community Conversation in the Rogers Middle School cafetorium Wednesday, Sept. 19 to discuss what they wanted to see if the school added an auditorium.
This is the first of two discussions across the district (the other is planned for Zimmerman High School Sept. 27). Superintendent Mark Bezek preceded the talk by laying out the Elk River Area School District’s Strategic Plan and levy information, which he said would be crucial to realizing the dream of an auditorium for the school. Bezek said the school district needs foot soldiers over the next couple of months to get the word out about the “really tough” consequences to local education if the two levy questions don’t pass on the ballot in November, and he encouraged the involvement of booster clubs, church groups and other gatherings and clubs to get involved.
District Director of Community Engagement Charlie Blesener led the group discussions for the auditorium, which were aimed at answering three questions: What are your hopes and dreams for learners, residents, and the community in relation to the arts? What and how could community organizations, businesses and other community resources partner with us to build an auditorium? How can citizens like you help? Participants were also asked if they wanted an auditorium design specific to the community or to partner with the district at large to create more diverse amenities. The answers were posted on the bleachers for all to see and the School District will copy them down and send them out to participants who signed in.
Blesener said the purpose of the Community Conversation is to include everyone in the thought process and planning as the school district moves forward to seek funding for its future needs. Participants were encouraged to sign up in the lobby to take some leadership in the process moving forward.