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ACGC lending its support to towns as fires claim library, 4 businesses

GROVE CITY -- The Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School Board is reaching out to two communities in the district hit hard by recent fires.

Last week the Cosmos Public Library was lost in a fire and this week four businesses in Atwater were destroyed.

At its meeting this week, the ACGC School Board expressed concern for the communities and sent letters of support to city officials.

The school has already begun working with the city of Cosmos on a potential partnership to house the library at the ACGC South Elementary School in Cosmos.

ACGC Business Manager Dan Tait and Cosmos Mayor Rich Gieser are in the "beginning stages" of discussions, said Superintendent Sherri Broderius.

Last year the school board considered closing the Cosmos elementary school but agreed to keep it open as long as spending cuts and new revenues were found.

Potential options discussed at that time was partnering with the city for shared facilities and services.

If the city library is located in the school building, Broderius said it would not be combined with the existing school library but would have a separate space and entrance that would be easily accessible in the summer when school is not in session.

The fires in the two communities have brought out a flood of emotions, said Broderius, especially for the Cosmos Library that served as a community hub that was safe for children and families.

"It was a huge part of the community of cosmos," she said.

Similar emotions are being shared about Peterson Hardware store in Atwater that provided crucial goods to the community, as well as fond childhood memories for decades.

As did most homeowners in Atwater, Broderius said ACGC purchased many items, like paint and light bulbs and other maintenance supplies, from the hardware store.

She said the school district wants to support businesses that decide to rebuild. "We'll do everything we can to shop locally."

In other action at their meeting Monday, the board recognized high school teacher Katie Hentges for obtaining her master's degree and agreeing to teach a Spanish IV "college now" course through Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall that will allow ACGC students to obtain college credits while staying in their home district.

The administration gave school board members a "long overdue" recognition for their service on the school board, said Broderius.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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