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School board picks Bielenberg site for high school

In somewhat of a surprise move, the District 833 School Board, on a 5-2 vote, picked an 80-acre site on Bailey Road and Pioneer Drive, next to the Bielenberg Sports Center in Woodbury for a new high school Thursday night.

Only one board member, Marsha Adou seemed 100 percent convinced the site is better than the other choice, a 120-acre site, more centrally located in the district, at Dale Road and County Road 19 in Woodbury. The site is about two miles closer to the border with Cottage Grove.

A site decision, which was expected to be decided on a month ago, was delayed when district officials asked for more soil testing at the Dale Road site to determine whether perflourochemicals (PFCs) were present from a 3M chemical dump site one half mile south.

Though district environmental consultants, including the Minnesota Health Department and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, concluded the site had a very low risk of contamination, four board members seemed convinced by Superintendent Tom Nelson's argument that "environmental issues will never go away."

Board members Adou, Tracy Brunnette, Ron Kath and Katy McElwee-Stevens voted in favor. Members Jim Gelbmann and Denise Kapler voted against.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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