Project Plans Continue as ISD 728 Board Gets Updates
The ISD 728 School Board and community members got a fresh look at the District’s newest school, as Wold Architects presented preliminary drawings at last month’s board meeting. “It’s a bit of a breath of fresh air among all of the COVID-19 discussion,” said Board Chair Shane Steinbrecher. “It’s exciting to see these plans, and we are grateful for our Community’s support.” Drawings show the new building, which will be located to the north of the current Prairie View Elementary and Middle School in Otsego. It will allow for middle school grades currently housed at Prairie View to be moved to the new building, and will also allow plenty of open space and alternative learning areas. Those open areas have been precious commodities in the current Prairie View Elementary and Middle School, and have been added to schools throughout ISD 728 as a result of continued growing enrollment, including at Elk River and Rogers High School, VandenBerge Middle and Salk Middle Schools and Zimmerman Middle/High School.
“We find that the kids flock to them,” said Terry Bizal, Principal at Elk River High School. “You sit down with your Chromebook, open it up and start on whatever work you have, but you’re in a setting where you can collaborate and, of course, socialize.”
Development of the new middle school will continue with “user group” meetings in April and May – most done virtually, now, due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, Wold consultant Robert Sehm said meetings are moving along and the project will be on schedule for this summer’s construction season, with a projected completion for the 2021-2022 school year.
Two other bond-supported projects were also part of the Board update on March 23, 2020. Construction of a new gymnasium at Rogers High and a 900-square foot “flex” classroom was introduced and met with approval, but not action. Bids on the gym addition and flex space will be requested soon, Sehm said. Zimmerman Middle/High School will also see a renovation and update in fitness areas, locker rooms, weight room, etc. Both projects are expected to be completed by the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
Handke gym update approved
Meanwhile, the School Board was given an update on the Handke Family Center Gym Project – which will be covered not by the $113 million voter-approved bond, but by long-term facility maintenance funds that were freed up by the bond projects. That project will rehabilitate the community education hub’s gym floor, create much-needed storage space and update equipment for community education programs and early education classes. Superintendent Bittman shared his excitement for the project, as the District’s work within Community Education and the entire school community remains a priority.
ERHS Parking Lot a Go
Finally, after approving bids for the reconstruction of the Elk River High School parking lot in February, ISD 728 leadership and the buildings and grounds team continue to work with contractors to move ahead on the project “as soon as possible,” according to Superintendent Dan Bittman. “This project has brought our various partners together and will provide a much better and safer situation for our students and families.”
For updates on the ISD 728 construction campaign, visit www.isd728.org/728Strong