Jim Boots, Redwood Area Board of Education chair, called it an exciting opportunity for hands-on learning.

Tom Quackenbush, mayor of the City of Redwood Falls, called it a game changer for the entire community.

In a letter read by Chuck Ackman, outreach director for U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the Minnesota senator, called it a place where educational experiences for students will help meet the needs of an ever-changing world.

Scott Marquardt, vice-president of the Southwest Initiative Foundation, said it exemplified the power of local philanthropy, the importance of private sector engagement and demonstrated opportunities for entrepreneurship and innovation and the critical importance of investing in kids.

What all of them were referring to was the Orrin S. Estebo Career Development and Training Center, and their words were shared as part of the dedication program and ribbon cutting ceremony held July 22 for the new facility.

District 16 Sen. Gary Dahms called it a great day for the Redwood area. 

Dahms said as a member of the Senate’s education committee he has been involved in a number of discussions about how to move education forward. One of the things that continually comes up is how to get government entities and agencies to work together and to work with the private sector to make things happen.

Fortunately, added Dahms, when he has those discussions he can come prepared to talk about some great examples, such as the collaboration between the City of Redwood Falls and the Redwood Area School District on the development of the Redwood Area Community Center.

The Estebo Career Development and Training Center is another example, said Dahms.

Dahms pointed to the generosity of Orrin Estebo in helping to make that happen.

Dahms also credited the local school board, the school’s administration and the excellent teachers for continued success in education. A lot of the struggles other schools are having are not part of what is happening in the local school district, Dahms said, because of those people and their efforts.

It was about 30 years ago when students began moving away from technical programs and toward four-year colleges.

“Today we are paying the price for that,” Dahms said, adding there is a shortage of people who are able to fill those technical jobs.

Quackenbush recognized Estebo for his visionary leadership and his lifetime of dedication to addressing the needs of the community.

“Orrin Estebo has the uncanny ability to collaborate and connect the right people with the right resources at the right time to turn his solution orientated vision into reality,” said Quackenbush. “Orrin’s track record of success in tackling community needs is unmatched.”

Quackenbush added Estebo’s influence on the community will be realized for years to come. In recognition of the efforts of Estebo, Quackenbush presented him with a key to the city.

Rick Ellingworth, Redwood Area School District superintendent, took the time to recognize a number of people who were instrumental in making the celebration possible from those who donated to the project to those who saw the vision and helped to plan and create this facility.

“This is a really big day for us,” said Ellingworth, adding it has been a long time in coming.

Ellingworth said the vision of the school board is that the new facility would not only be used during the school day, but also at night, on the weekends and during the summer months, adding that it will be available not only for those students but for the entire community to utilize as a learning space.

Young students and adults may be learning side by side as they develop skills they need to be successful, he said.

Ellingworth also recognized Orrin Estebo for the many investments he has made in the local school district, and then announced Estebo recently offered another $100,000 gift to the school district to help meet a $500,000 goal to provide the new facility with state-of-the art equipment. That recent donation has helped the school district meet that goal.

This is a facility that will meet the economic needs of the entire geographic area, Ellingworth said.

Ellingworth said he recently asked Orrin Estebo why he chose to give to the local school district, and Elling-worth shared that he told him education means a lot to him and this is one way that he can help to lighten the load and ease the path of those who are trying to get ahead.

Mission accomplished.