Business Leaders Pledge Millions Toward New Owatonna High School Plan
Three Owatonna business leaders made financial pledges totaling millions of dollars toward a proposal for a new Owatonna High School during Monday's school board work session. The contributions would come both in money and goods and services. The Community Task Force on facilities recently made the recommendation of a new high school to the board.
Federated Insurance Chairman of the Board and CEO Jeff Fetters, President and CEO of Wenger Corporation Chris Simpson and Viracon President Kelly Schuller made their offers of financial support at Monday's meeting.
Fetters indicated that Federated Insurance would make a $20 million dollar gift to the school district to go toward a new high school. In a news release from the district, Fetters states, "Owatonna is home to Federated and we rely on this community and the school system to continue to hire quality employees. I'm also a steward on Owatonna Forward, and I saw the community rally in support for a new high school." He added, "The community is ready. The business leaders are ready."
Schuller announced that Viracon would provide all the glass needed for a new facility at cost with no profit for the organization, saying, "You have my emotional support, but we'd also like to be a part of this project."
Simpson said Wenger would provide a seven-figure contribution of the stage, acoustic and storage solutions for a new high school. An exact cost can't be determined until a design is completed.
Owatonna School Board Chairman Mark Sebring reacted with great appreciation for the offers, "On behalf of current and future generations of Owatonna High School students, thank you." He also said, "There has always been a heritage of business and community leadership started by the names Martineau, Wenger, and Buxton. Today, we sincerely appreciate the continuation of this profound leadership that names Simpson, Schuller and Fetters bring to these revered organizations. Your voice, leadership, and demonstration of financial support for the future of our students speaks volumes to our Owatonna pride."