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Letter: Why not hear us out about Prairie View?

Editor's note: This letter was sent to all Ellsworth School Board members and Supt. Barry Cain by Bernard Schoeder representing Prairie View Senior Living Aug. 30.

We understand there are some valid concerns about the viability or the sincerity of our intents for the repurposing of the Prairie View School.

We would like to address these issues to calm any fears you may have in the hopes there's still time to persuade you to reconsider the demolition of Prairie View School.

We will not be starting a charter school or any type of education center. The exception would be the continuation of Panther Kids Club. Panther Kids Club is an essential part of the area. We are very willing to entertain retaining space for PKC in the building to families in the surrounding area. We are willing to sign a non-compete clause stating this.

If the property is available to be acquired with the building intact, we will provide a performance bond that guarantees our sincerity, and that we will do what we say we are going to do.

We have taken into consideration and understand the property needs a new drain field and are aware of the asbestos. Our plan included removing the portable buildings. This remaining building is in good shape and doesn't deserve to be a tear-down. We have toured the building with Denny Langer in its entirety and are completely aware of its potential and its shortcomings.

There are many old school buildings in the area that have been given new life. The Maiden Rock Elementary is now The Maiden Rock Inn; Sunnyside Elementary in Ellsworth is a business; Jefferson School in Red Wing houses offices; Colvill School in Red Wing is Early Education; the old Burnside School in Red Wing is offices for technology companies; and Central High in Red Wing is condos. If these buildings are worthy of new life, why not Prairie View?

Just think, someone that was a student, staff or teacher could live in the same building that brought so many great memories to them.

We are filling a badly needed housing market using the existing building. To start over from scratch with a blank lot is not feasible. We feel it is neither fiscally nor morally responsible to destroy a building that is capable of a new life, and basically, send it to a landfill.

We would appreciate the opportunity to meet with the entire Ellsworth School Board and Superintendent Cain in private, if possible, to discuss real numbers, what we would need to do to take out the fear factor, show we are sincere, and allow us to move forward in the process to acquire and save Prairie View School.

At the very least, we need permission from the School Board to complete and Application for Review, Petition for Variance with the State of Wisconsin Plumbing Inspector for the fire suppression systems.

Please, please don't send Prairie View School to the landfill based on the actions of others. We are neighbors and friends of Prairie View and don't want the property to be an eyesore either.

Prairie View Senior Living

Bernard Schoeder, president

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