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Huskies celebrate new high school

owatonna high school, opening, ribbon cutting
OHS students cut the ribbon to officially commemorate the opening of the new Owatonna High School campus. The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place last Saturday, and the high school was flooded by curious community members shortly afterward. Staff photo by Johnnie Phillips
Johnnie Phillips, Sports Editor

The new Owatonna High School opened its doors to the public last weekend with a ribbon cutting to commemorate the official beginning of the Huskies’ tenure at their new grounds.

Community members flocked to the high school and were greeted by cheers from the Owatonna Huskies cheer team, the school hymn for the Huskies’ choir and speeches from Superintendent Jeff Elstad and Principal Kory Kath.

“It’s truly humbling because there has been so much work, design and thought put into this place. Then, all of a sudden, you’re kind of just standing there in awe of all the people as they’re coming in and just taking in that first breath saying, ‘Wow, this is an amazing place.’ I think for myself, it’s just a sense of pride to be able to showcase that we did this for our kids and they’re going to reap the benefits,” said Kath.

Once inside, community members had free reign to check out all major parts of the campus, including impressive top-of-the-line features such as the Huskies’ weight room and the Wenger Performing Arts Center.

“It’s really nice. It’s completely different from what I pictured. It’s a lot nicer,” said Owatonna High School senior Carsen Phelps, who had previously attended the former Owatonna Senior High School for three years before now starting his final year on the new campus. He added the new campus offers a lot of exciting features, however, the music suite was what caught his eye.

As a percussionist in the Owatonna High School band, Phelps is already getting used to his new digs, which include brand new lockers, sound-proof studios and classrooms with improved acoustics.

However, students aren’t the only ones reaping the benefits of the new and improved campus.

“Well, I mean music has always been such a huge part of his life and he’ll continue that in college, so I think being able to have the experience at a facility like this with the support we have in our community just leads to a lot of positivity for students heading into college next year,” said Dawn Phelps, Carsen’s mother.

With classes underway, students at the new high school have a uniquely rare opportunity according to Kath.

“The old high school was in use for 102 years, and I think that’s what makes this year so exciting,” said Kath. “Our student body this year has the opportunity to decide how our new traditions will be formed. That’s what I’ve told our seniors and juniors – all the way down to our freshman. ‘You get to form those traditions. You get to be the ones to set the tone for what this building will be for the next 100 years.’ What a special opportunity, and I’m excited to see how it plays out.”

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