It was good to see Litchfield City Council and Litchfield School Board members come together last week for another discussion of a community wellness center.

They may be no closer, really, to a combined project than they were before the City Council’s workshop session held after the regular meeting Aug. 5.

But members agreed that they needed to work together.

It seems so logical and efficient that the city and school district collaborate on a building that could provide tremendous opportunity to area residents.

Sometimes logic and efficiency get lost among competing interests and the pressure to satisfy one’s constituents.

That’s not to lay blame or to be too critical of either the city or school district leadership. It’s just reality.

So while it seems they have shared a common vision for the past several months, it also has seemed that they’ve spoken two completely different languages at times.

Now, though, they appear to be on the same page, offering a united front in support of a wellness center — even if most of the details of said center still have to be ironed out, including what will be included, where it will be located, how it will operate.

Agreeing to find common ground is a solid — most important — first step.

The hard work lies ahead.

Litchfield School District’s part in the wellness center would be an eight-lane competition swimming pool, which could be used for a variety of aquatic activities, but most importantly could replace the high school’s antiquated five-lane pool.

Funding for that pool would come in the form of a bond, delivered by a referendum question — the third in a three-question ballot the School Board approved Monday night.

The referendum questions are individual, sequential steps.

The first question is for an operating levy, which would increase funding for classroom activities.

If the first question is approved, voters would be asked to approve a $32 million bond for building improvements throughout the district, primarily at Lake Ripley Elementary School.

Finally — and only if the first two questions are approved — voters will be asked to support $11.3 million for a swimming pool, as well as a weight training facility and a soccer field.

Only after the school district’s needs are met can the city-school wellness center effort really begin to move. As City Administrator Dave Cziok said last week, “There is no scenario in which the city is going at this alone.”

It is a lot to take in, and at least partially explains why it took so long for the city and school to reach a consensus.

The good news, though, is that they are there now, and as City Council member Darlene Kotelnicki said, “I think we as elected officials really have to come out of the chute united.”

We encourage school district and city residents to check out that united front. Ask questions about the different scenarios that could help the school district and city achieve their goals.

Brent Schacherer is publisher of the Hutchinson Leader and Litchfield Independent Review.

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