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Clara City EDA offers to build auditorium

Tribune file photo The Clara City Economic Development Authority has offered to finance the construction of a 500-seat auditorium for the MACCRAY School District if voters approve a single-campus proposal. The EDA would then lease the auditorium to the school district.

CLARA CITY — The Clara City Economic Development Authority has offered to finance the construction of a 500-seat auditorium for the MACCRAY School District if voters approve a single-campus proposal.

Windy Block, Clara City administrator and EDA member, presented the proposal Monday to MACCRAY School Board members. He emphasized that it was a possible tool for the district. "In this particular case, we see an opportunity to at least give you another tool that you may want to consider using," Block said. "You certainly don't have to."

The EDA would lease the auditorium to the district. The district could use a projected $425,000 savings in operational savings from a single-campus system to make the lease payments, which would retire the projected $5.5 million to $6 million cost to develop the auditorium.

MACCRAY School Board members on Monday approved asking voters to approve an approximate $39 million bond in a November referendum to develop new facilities for a single-campus system. The $39 million total includes an estimated $6 million cost for a 500-seat auditorium.

Block said EDA members voted 6-1 on Monday to offer to build and lease an auditorium to the district if it approves a single-campus system.

It will likely take several months for the district to determine the legal issues associated with accepting the proposal, as well as considering its financial implications, according to Mike Hubbard, ICS Consulting. The company has developed the preliminary plans for the new facilities.

Hubbard told the board members they could keep the auditorium as part of the overall bond issue put before voters in November. Or, they could put the auditorium on the ballot as a separate measure and accept the EDA proposal should voters reject the auditorium question by itself. Board members must still determine the actual wording for the ballot measure.

Block encouraged the board members to consider the proposal, and said the EDA would welcome any questions or suggestions on other ways it could assist the school.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

(320) 214-4335
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