Wright County leaders are scheduled to make another key vote today on incentives for a proposed pork processing plant, as area school leaders are envisioning a big influx in new students.
Jess Tolliver, superintendent of the Eagle Grove schools, is going on the assumption the Prestage Farms facility will be built nearby and he’s trying to plan ahead.”It will have an impact on our school district and, quite honestly, all of the school districts around us,” Tolliver says. “Nine-hundred jobs will bring a lot of people and with people and families comes kids, so that’s something we’ll have to prepare for.”
If the $240million plant is built near Eagle Grove, plans call for it to open in March of 2019. Tolliver says they’ve got to have plans in place to deal with a potentially-significant enrollment boost.
“We’re just doing the basic steps of trying to get together different groups to look at a facility study,” Tolliver says. “What do we have for our current buildings, what do we have for growth areas within those and if we get more growth than we can handle in those areas, what are our options we can explore to meet the needs of more students.” The proposed pork facility is the talk of Eagle Grove and many residents have posted yard signs to show their support — or opposition.
“Nine-hundred jobs is a lot of jobs in the area,” he says. “It’s something that we haven’t had from an economic standpoint in a long, long time. There’s people on both sides and there’s valid arguments on both sides, but for the most part, it’s very positive.” The final hearing on approving the Prestage Foods facility is set for today at the Wright County Courthouse in Clarion. Last week, a state panel approved 11-and-a-half million dollars in state tax incentives for the plant.
(Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City contributed to this report)