What’s Going Up: Q&A with New London

What’s Going Up: Q&A with New London

April 1, 2024

Kelsey Olson Marketing and Communications Specialist for KCED asked City Administrator/Clerk/Treasurer Trudie Guptill about the journey in finding a new location for city hall and the library and the process of bringing the Southwest West Central Educational Learning Center here. In between a conference, snowstorm and the city’s audit she was kind enough to send answers to the City of New London’s construction process.


When was it first decided that a new location was needed?

It has been discussed for several years, and money has been put away since 2014 in preparation. The library’s need for a new location spurred the sales tax question to be placed on the 2016 ballot. Once that was passed, the search for the location started, and several lot locations were looked at for the idea of building one building to house the public library and the city hall. Once we got updated estimates on what a new building would cost, we started narrowing down the options of the existing buildings. We went through several of them as well, including the Open Door Church building next to the post office, the Crow River Construction building across the street from the old city hall, the former Mill Pond Mercantile and Happy Sol buildings, and the old clinic building that the Evangelical Covenant Church owns, before landing on the two separate locations we have now.

How long did the process take?

Planning started in 2017 and it took until 2022 to purchase our two buildings. Once the selections were made, the planning took about six to eight months.

What were some of the obstacles in finding the right location?

Taking retail space, location, size, and not having a large pool of empty lots or buildings for sale in New London is also a huge blessing!!

How long, from start to finish, did construction take?

Construction began in the spring of last year, and we were moved into City Hall on December 1, 2023, and the Library on January 1, 2024—mainly due to shelving delays.

What are the most significant benefits of the new location for city hall?

It is centrally located, providing public restrooms, more room for staff, and room for growth for the city’s future needs.

What would be your advice to another city going through the same process?

The hardest part for us was finally making the decision on a location. My advice would be to weigh the options you have right now and make a decision!! Don’t look back; just work together on planning the new (or renovated) space.  


Southwest West Central Service Cooperative is building a new Educational Learning Center (ELC) that will offer specialized education for students with learning and behavioral challenges in New London, across from the existing Elementary School.

How was the development of the ELC proposed for the City of New London?

They came to us after the failed attempt to get a new building in Willmar. They met with the EDA president and me several times before it was presented to the entire EDA Committee and, ultimately, to the council.

Who made the decision?

The EDA is a recommending body and recommended the project to the city council for approval.

What steps had to take place for it to be approved?

Land purchase, lease terms drafted and finalized, lease revenue bonds for the project secured and finalized, bond opinions, and more, but overall, it was a normal process for any development. 

When will it open?

Summer/Fall 2024 is anticipated.

How many students will it serve?

At total capacity, the ELC can provide services for up to 50 students. These students will come from area school districts within 30-60 miles of New London. 

What is the benefit of having this located in New London?

There’s a widening gap in the region for an educational center like this, and we believe that all students should have access to the care and services they need to receive a quality education.


This article first appeared in the April 2024 KCED Newsletter

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