New Ulm referendum passed

Well, it happened. The referendum allocating $47 million dollars for a new high school along with renovations to current schools passed with a narrow margin of 49 votes.

Is it the end of the world? No, absolutely not. If I’ve known people from New Ulm to be anything, it’s responsible with their money and investments–we’re Germans after all.

I’ve come up with some thoughts on how to make the most of this money.



At the meeting, there were several sites that were being looked at for the high school. Two of them were outside city limits, one was inside. I hope it’s painfully obvious that they should opt for the school to be in the city limits. I actually heard the superintendent say something along the lines of not wanting to build extra infrastructure just for the school. This is definitely good, a wise and tempered approach to this new school will be good for everyone.



Please. PLEASE. Keep the architecture fitting with the city. New Ulm has a ton of beautiful civic buildings including the courthouse, water filtration plant, public utilities, fire station, etc… The high school shouldn’t be some weird boxy modernist thing. It should be a classical looking German-American building that reflect the culture and sense of place that New Ulm has going for it.



I emailed the superintendent and told him maybe they should think about using the same people who did the new New Ulm Dioceses. Beautiful.




Do the same thing with the renovated middle schools. Take some of the money to make them aesthetically appealing and buildings that add to the community.



Keep some of the sports downtown. This is a perfect time to re-invest in New Ulm and give a sense of dedication to the city. The NUHS could keep it’s homecoming game at Johnson Park along with playoffs for the other sports. It’s a really cool feeling to watch a football  or baseball game just a block from the historic downtown and it adds to the sense of community.



Connect it like crazy. Make sure there are tons and tons of ways for people to get there. Sidewalks, dedicated trails, bike lanes, heli-pads, subway systems, streetcars…okay those last three maybe not.



Keep the community involved in every little aspect. The margin on this vote was so narrow that half the town thinks it’s good and half the town thinks it’s bad. If you want to win support for the idea, make sure they know whats going on and when it’s going on.

I love New Ulm and though I didn’t support this, it’s done and there’s no use in complaining about it. I hope that the leaders of the school board and the leaders of the city make sound decisions that allow the new high school to add to the community, not detract from it.

About Matthias Leyrer

Matthias Leyrer is a resident of Mankato looking to restore a fraction of its old glory. He writes about the economic, aesthetic, practical and financial issues facing the city of Mankato going forward.